Cinco- Cookies

My husband is a food diva.

For the most part, this is a good fit. I like to cook and try recipes. I like to go to restaurants. In terms of our relationship in general, our food proclivities mesh.

Except…

Last week I was making my weekly target run. Let me emphasize that my Husband knew I was going to Target, and Target alone. He also knows that almost everything in my neighborhood is closed…

One would also hope that he knows what’s on the shelves in the stores, and what isn’t…but…

So he says to me- “Can you pick up cookies for me.” (which in his case means chocolate chip) I nod my head knowing there is a 50/50 chance at finding cookies.

For the record, here’s how my twice a week food shop goes: In a perfect world I grab a can of beans and a can of some tomato product. I get a pack of frozen veggies and a box of pasta. That’s the first line of defense. (If you ask me why I only get one, it’s because they are limiting how much food we can buy per trip, and honestly, I just buy under my limit because I know there are those far worse off than I am..)

Then I see what else I can scavenge up. Eggs, onion, pepper, packet of cheese, chips, bag of mandarins, etc… I’m trying to grab basics that I can turn into a variety of things…

But anyway- I go to the cookie aisle. They have the Target brand cookies. Score. In the cart. I grab a thing of toilet paper (score) and a canister of wipes (double score)

I go home and unpack and wipe the groceries.

Husband- Why did you buy these cookies?

Me: That’s all they had.

Husband: but I don’t like these.

Me: They’re chocolate chip cookies.

Husband: but you know I like the good cookies.

Me: You knew I was going to Target (which is a Target express btw) What kind of cookies do you think they sell at Target?

Husband: Don’t you know me by now?

Me: &^%$&*(* in my head of course, because when I’m standing in the kitchen next to the chef’s knife is probably not the ideal time to get really mad at someone I’ll probably be in lockdown with for years…

And ten days later he still manages to bring up the cookies. I think at this point I have a reasonably good defense if it comes to that…

But, his food diva tendencies have started to branch out to other things…

The other day I made shrimp marinara (score- frozen shrimp from that Target trip) and frozen veggies. Now normally I would make pasta with this dish, but we eat sooooo much pasta now I didn’t need to add it.

Husband: are you serving Italian bread with that?

Cause you know we’re not only not in the middle of a pandemic, we’re now Olive Garden…

I just looked at him and thought about the shape of an Italian bread and wished for just one second that I had one so I could shove it….

Then yesterday, he says (as we’ve just finished dinner btw) What’s for dinner tomorrow.

Me: bean and rice burritos with tomatoes and corn

Him: With guacomole?

Let’s just say my daughter stood in front of me to keep from charging across the room…

Him: What? You mean there’s no avocados in the store? They don’t have a package of pre made guacamole?

I just walked away. Which isn’t very far considering the room in our apartment…

And yes dear readers….he’s still alive…

though my next trip to Target may yield duct tape and strong rope…

 

Cuatro-Days

I didn’t feel well when I woke up last Friday.

I panicked a little.

Obviously.

But here’s the problem with panic- the more you do it, the worse you get.

So I took an allergy pill, because really, the symptoms felt like at allergy, but you know, I have heightened awareness to sickness, so I immediately decided I had corona, even though I had no fever, no cough and I could still taste and smell…

But I had a tightness in my chest…

So I sat by myself on the couch, because you know we have no space to quarantine from one another in my apartment, so it’s one for all and all for one.

And I stewed and got more crazed by the minute…I can’t watch TV because you know, one room is an office and the other is a classroom…and I don’t watch TV on my computer on principal. So I plowed through a book, but I still kept wondering…is this it?

And you replay the what if scenario about a thousand times in your head. You tell the people in the room that you don’t feel good, but, it doesn’t really help. The only thing that will help is feeling better…

Of course, I legit started to feel better about an hour after taking an allergy pill, but still, if we know anything right now, it’s that you can’t be too careful…

And my chest still hurts a little, but I know that the cause of that is anxiety. Because how can you not help but be just a teensy bit anxious right now…

So I just practiced breathing, and I took a nap. When I woke from the nap I felt much better physically. Mentally, not so much.

Saturday came and I knew I had to talk to someone other than my family about what I was feeling, my panic, my anxiety, whatever. But you have to choose your confidante very carefully. You have to pick someone who will make you feel better, who will be calm and rational and logical and neutral emotionally…

So I figured out who to talk to…

FYI- there is no friend who will remain cool, calm and emotionless when you tell them that you thought you had corona the day before, but all is good now…

Though normally grammatically correct in all written exchanges, your calm logical friend types out two sentences jammed together, spelling and punctuation be damned…

So I started to panic again…

To the point where I had to tell my friend that I would talk to them later because I didn’t need advice or be told what I should be doing. I just needed someone to listen to my crazy… I needed to just vent a little and get out all that I was feeling…I needed to say out loud that I was having a really bad day…

Which my friend got…eventually…I guess when you actually say – hey- I’m having a really bad day- it helps…

I verbalized all the stuff swirling in my head, which in turn released the fifty pound weight that had centered itself on my chest…

By Sunday I was much better mentally.

So these are my corona diaries. Some days are good, some days are neutral, and some days just downright suck…

 

Tres- Behavior

Social Distancing.

It’s a nice concept if you can find it.

We’re supposed to be social distancing here in the epicenter of corona… supposed being the operative word. I’m going to let you in on what I see when I am doing my best at social distancing…

Construction has been removed from the essential list- yet some buildings continue on with construction…

Civil court has been postponed, but the wheels of justice grind on in criminal proceedings…

Smokers continue to pick up butts on the street to smoke. While this was just disgusting before, the behavior now adds a whole new level of WTF…. Do you think there’s any way to spread germs by picking up a used cigarette butt off the ground and putting it into your mouth? And, yeah, smokers and respiratory disease….

Last weekend, police broke up a party in NYC. 50 people in a 500 square foot apartment…with a DJ…I want you to think how anyone was more than six inches apart, much less six feet…

Stores had to put tape on the floor to separate people, because apparently no one went to pre school had had absolutely no idea what six feet looked like. Or maybe men really do think they are six feet tall when they are indeed somewhere around five foot seven…or they really think that….never mind. We need cues…

But even with the cues, I had to threaten people the other day. Our target has two socially spaced  lines, self check and regular. The line I was on was paying attention to the rules, the other was all helter skelter. I actually said “Do you all mind if I take a picture of you for my blog? People would love to see how well you’re social distancing…” (of course this was a lie because I don’t take my phone out when I am out lest I get corona cooties on it. It stays deeply inside my purse) They sheepishly separated…

Yesterday the USS Comfort pulled into NYC to be able to take care of all those who are ailing but not with corona or it’s related symptoms. People lined up the west side to take pictures of this momentous occasion…because nothing says good sense other than lining up really close to one another to see a boat come in that will help us through a health crisis…

What do you want me to say?

People aren’t listening to rules.

Freedom?

Arrogance?

Stupidity?

Apathy?

The non charitable part of me wants to see all of these people develop symptoms. But then I think about all the innocent people that they might infect…and then I wish for continued good health…

Who is to blame if people don’t follow simple rules?

I can’t help but think there’s a sort of bizarre symmetry in all of this…

People beg for safe spaces because they can’t cope. A generation or two rooted in trophies for all…

And now, people refuse to retreat to safe spaces…so I guess it will have to be corona for all…

Dos- The Window

We hit our first two week window.

It’s been over two weeks since my daughter has been at college and in Washington DC. Two weeks since they drove up 95 to NYC. Two weeks since he has been at work. Two weeks plus since I have been to the gym, book club, theater, movies, restaurants… Two weeks since we have had any exposure to large groups.

We all remain symptom free.

But don’t start cheering…

Because according the NY state higher ups, the apex of this crisis has yet to hit NYC.

But essentially, that means that if we develop symptoms now, the fault doesn’t lie in our stars but in ourselves…

We were warned over two weeks ago to stay at home if possible….

Which we have, for the most part…

But…

We still walk the dog.

We still go to target or the market.

And no matter what experts say, corona is smarter than all of us…

We wear gloves every time we leave the house. When we come back in, we wipe down our gloves. And wash our hands.

We wipe down the doorknob.

We wipe down the leash.

We wipe our reusable bags.

We wipe down every single thing we buy. If the food product can be switched to a different container, we do it, and get the offending container out of the house.

We wipe down the mail. But since it’s paper, we don’t wipe too much, so we then leave it out and don’t touch it for at least 24 hours. Same with newspaper or if we get a package.

When we throw out garbage, we wipe down all the handles before we open the door or the chute. Same with stairway and banister if we take the stairs down. We use our elbows for the elevator if we use that.

When I do laundry, which is communal and in the basement, I wipe down the machines. I wipe down my laundry card.

Suffice to say, we wipe down everything. We wash our hands three times as much.

As I told my friends last week, I have the cleanest doorknob in America…

Crazy?

OCD?

Overcautious?

I don’t know. You tell me.

Because we’ve been told to stay home and social distance for over two weeks…and we still haven’t hit the peak…

I now live my life in two week increments: we got through phase one, phase two began yesterday. Every day fever free, every day cough free, is a small victory. But every sneeze, every time someone feels cold or hot is a warning bell… It reminds us that we are not even close to the finish line…and there is no mile marker to tell me where we are, only vague suggestions that maybe we’re at mile nine…

The problem is, we don’t really know how many miles are in this particular marathon.

 

Uno- Highlights?

What I finished this week:

  1. The Authenticity Project- Claire Pooley easy read, exactly what I needed this week
  2. Don Tillman’s Standardized Meal System- Graehme Simsion- more recipe bool, and only good if you’re a fan of the Don Tillman series
  3. The Library Book- Susan Orlean- very interesting if you’re a library geek
  4. Oona Out of Order- Margarita Montimore- light and easy
  5. The Book of Self Care- Mary Beth Janssen- good for beginner meditation

What I’m Currently Reading:

  1. The Self Love Experiment- Shannon Kaiser – it’s literally what the title says (self help)
  2. 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle- Stuart Turton- I’m almost done…

What’s Up Next:

  1. I usually read Reese Witherspoon and Jenna Bush Hager’s book club picks which traditionally come out about the first day of the new month- so assuming all things status quo, I’ll be reading them this week
  2. The Remains of the Day- Kazuo Ishiguro
  3.  Maybe You Should Talk to Someone- Lori Gottlieb
  4. Recipe For A Perfect Wife- Karma Brown

What I’m Watching:

  1. Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC) I think it’s fun- my daughter has issues with it
  2. Jeopardy- we play this as it’s going on, so it’s more like a game, but as we watch it…

The Games:

  1. Uno- we all hold our own in this game
  2. Ticket to Ride- again- all equal
  3. Jeopardy- ok- it’s not even close. I am the queen of useless knowledge so I soundly answer more questions than them

Food:

  1. Veggie Chili
  2. Creamy Pasta
  3. Pork chops/baked sweet potatoes/stuffing
  4. Pesto Pasta
  5. Pizza
  6. veggie/beef burgers with oven fries and roasted broccoli
  7. Spanish rice with peas and salad
  8. Lots of eggs
  9. Pancakes
  10. Cheerios
  11. Salty snacks
  12. Banana Bread

My daughter is adjusting to zoom classes, and our cat has made appearances during class. My husband is adjusting to working from home, and the dog is often found on his lap during meetings…

 

Neuf- My Essentials

You know all those desert island games that we played as kids? What albums? What movies?

Well, let’s get this straight- I’d need spotify, because there I would be tired of the same ten albums after maybe a day. Same with books and movies….

But in my stay at home to save lives sort of existence, these are the things that are getting me through the days:

  1. My sense of humor- if you can’t laugh, you’re done…
  2. my nook and Barnes and Noble app- reading is saving me, and being able to switch up genre is brilliant
  3. writing
  4. games, both ipad and board
  5. ability to text/facetime my friends
  6. salty snacks (seriously- if there was ever a doubt about sweet v salty, salty will win out every time)
  7. walk- I take two socially distanced walks a day. I take my dog to the park which is 3 long blocks away- we loop the park once and come home. Then I walk to market or target and pick up one or two things (one long block and 4 short ones- stores have markers on the floor to show where people to stand)
  8. My desk calendar where I flip the page to see the new day
  9. soap
  10. moisturizer/lotion
  11. My belief that we will get through this if we work together, but we will fail if we keep arguing (you know-  the virus divides and conquers)

Huit- Essentially

In NYC, we’re under some restrictions. 100% of non essential workers are not allowed to go to work. But, there are many essential workers.

You know the obvious ones, medical professionals, EMT’s, pharmacy workers, anyone who deals with food, truckers and delivery people, garbage haulers.

But what about the less obvious ones?

The staff in large apartment buildings are considered essential. Our handyman, doormen and porters are in attendance. We have come up with a volunteer list to take over these jobs if necessary at some point, but for now, our building is existing somewhat normally.

Some have commented on this blog if liquor stores should be considered essential. I understand why they are, but I can’t help but fear of the troubles this may cause down the line.

Construction workers are considered essential. On one of my short forays onto Facebook (I should delete the app because my only feelings after looking at it are fear and depression, but not about the virus, but about how stupid some people are in the face of a crisis) I noticed fellow New Yorkers commenting on whether or not construction was an essential occupation. I’m not talking road maintenance or things that obviously need to be fixed, such as fixing something that is broken. Should the high-rise down the street continue with construction? Pros and cons.

What about the grey area of construction? My particular apartment building has been undergoing renovations for about a year (necessary structural things) While the actual structural work has been completed, our planters in front of the building, which needed to be shored up, are not done. On Monday, work continued on fixing the planters. I pitched a fit to the treasurer of the co op board:

Me: Why is making sure we have trees in front of the building essential?

treasurer: they’re working outside. Don’t we want it done?

me: but they have to come into the building to use the bathroom. I thought we had a limited visitor rule in place

treasurer: the city says they’re essential, so they continue the work

me: that’s just stupid

treasurer: Fine. What’s for lunch?

me: get it yourself

So, should all construction workers be considered essential, or should be done on a case by case basis? Pros and cons.

Now how about jury duty?

I presently have a friend who is serving on Federal Grand Jury duty. Which in her case means she has to travel from Westchester, a suburb just north of NYC, to lower Manhattan. Every day. In and out of two hot spots.

While I get the right to a speedy trial…

What is the best way to handle jury duty and selection and trials and the law part, dun dun dun, of law and order?

Again- pros and cons.

Oddly, my friend just texted me a cartoon of a really hairy hand, with super long nails, and the caption- we may have to redefine essential… And it’s funny, because we all have things that we consider essential…but now I’m peaking into tomorrow…

So construction- jury system…

What do we think- pros and cons?

Or other things deemed essential that you consider questionable…

my husband’s friend has not been tested yet, but I don’t know if it’s due to lack of testing equipment or being an ostrich. My husband remains fever free and full of taste and smell.

 

Sept

Hear in NYC you know that we’re on stay in place unless you need to go out or can have common sense about walking around and can manage to be six feet away from people…

But, trying to figure out a routine, because I thrive on routine, so of course I still have a list of corona inspired blog topics. And a vague schedule. I mean, of course I do. Today I was going to write about freedom….including quotes from Janis Joplin and George Michael.

But…

Last night, my husband (who is also trying to stick to his routine) was having a virtual happy hour with two of his buddies. While on the call, my husband heard about a friend, T. T is not only my husband’s friend, but he is a co corker. Apparently. T has developed a fever…

No, we have no idea if it’s corona, but you know…

So I first looked at my calendar to see how many days it has been since my husband saw him…

Friday the thirteenth. It will be two weeks this Friday since he last saw him…

So I immediately got out my thermometer and took my Husband’s temperature. Normal. (so if nothing else my husband can insist that he’s clinically normal during this period)

And now I keep staring at my husband, like it’s the chicken pox and I’m going to see that corona logo appear on his face…

And every hour that goes by between now and midnight Friday will be a true or false test…

True- my husband and probably my household has it…

false- we dodged a bullet… for now…

And that’s how it feels- a giant waiting game

Can’t get your coffee till LA takes your temperature

Can’t go to sleep till La takes your temperature.

Our friend is a vibrant, healthy guy. Athlete in great shape. Eats healthy. No underlying health conditions. But- he is over the golden age of 60…and prior to corona, was already stressed out to no end…

So that’s my today…

Tomorrow to be determined…

 

Six (sorry – same word in French)

No one is aware of the crisis going on than me. While I am not obsessively watching the news, I do check in for updates occasionally.

Presently, my city is considered the epicenter of the virus. My Governor states that conservative estimates place the chance of a New Yorker at getting the virus at 50%.

50%

Half of my state.

Half of my city.

Half of my daughters classmates from school.

Half of my Husband’s colleagues.

Half of the people I know from tea society, book club and the gym.

Half of my closest friends

250 people in my building

8 people from my floor

1.5 people in my apartment

These are the numbers and statistics I see. Based on conservative estimates, and by conservatives I do not mean via statistics given on Fox News, I mean stats based on what is happening now.

I am choosing not to blame or finger point. I am choosing not to look at what was done yesterday, or last week or last month. Mentally, I can not afford to say “Well- we should have done X last week.”

What does finger pointing do to help anyone facing the crisis now?

What does blaming someone for yesterday do to help us today?

When I see someone asked a question of what can be done, the answer that “this should have been done two weeks ago” is a bogus answer. The person saying that has absolutely no idea what to actually do. They have no ideas. They can only naysay…That’s a loser answer because it’s really not answering the question of what can be done NOW.

A year from now we can rehash this. We can come up with a new gameplan…but for now..it’s onward ho.

Let’s put it this way- our city and state government asked last week for social distancing. They asked nicely.  Yet, when our governor toured the city parks the other day, he saw anything but social distancing.  If different choices had been made, would people have complied? Or it personal freedom still the most important thing?

Yesterday I lost a reader who I really respected. I appreciated his no nonsense approach and out of the box thinking, but he doesn’t see my point of view. This is fair- we all have the freedom to decide what to do and what to read…

So here’s the thing: if you want to blame anyone, from the president to the Chinese to my governor to people not self distancing, this is probably not the blog that you want to read. No worries. I get it.

But if you are willing to consider what we might want to do today, or tomorrow, then stick around. If you want to hear how three people, a dog and a cat are surviving in 700 square feet, stick around. If you want to see the peaks and valleys of my moods- the small moments of joy, and the days I break down. Stick around. If you want to here how I made last night’s dinner a little different- I’m here. If you want to get tips on how to be quiet when your daughter is live in a class in one room while your husband is on a conference call in the other, I’m here.

But if you want to complain and should, coulda, woulda….I’m probably not your best outlet.

I understand the implications of this virus. The virus is my enemy. But for my mental health…I’m making lemonade. It’s my best choice.