Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Our New Normal

Looking forward to getting back into the garden
How many people feel like they're living in a dystopian or post-apocalyptic novel right now? It's never been my favorite genre, but the kind I do like are the ones where the remaining people pull together, pool resources, re-learn old skills, and get back to the business of living. James Howard Kunstler's World Made by Hand is a great example.

Of course, right now, we can't pull together, except by pulling separately. The best way to show that we care is to keep our distance and act as if we're already infected, so that - even if we're not - we don't carry germs to someone in a higher-risk group.

One of the worst parts for us is just that, distancing ourselves from the high-risk, which would be Mario's mom. She's recently gone into a nursing home in NJ and they're currently on total lockdown, so we can't see her at all. We're calling, but it's not the same to someone who's a little confused about the world.

The way things are going, it looks like we're going to be seeing a lot of our in-house
nearest and dearest for quite some time. For some, this is spouse, kids, pets. For some, it's any one of those. For others, they're stuck at home alone.

None of these are good, in the short term, but for there to be a long run, it's what has to be done.

I feel fortunate, after hearing about all those empty supermarket shelves that I'm the kind of person who always has a month's worth of food on hand. I don't know if it was growing up listening to my aunts' tales of the Depression, hitting the frugal living/FIRE movement at the right time, or  just my natural tendencies, but when I've seen non-perishables that I like on sale, I've always stocked up. We have a chest freezer in the basement (which was just getting restocked pre-pandemic after an unfortunate accidental plug removal and mass meltdown). I have tomato sauce and veggies from our garden that I both froze and canned last year. And I can make soup from anything.

Which is not to say that this is going to be easy. Mario's lucky that he can work from home. I know a lot of people aren't that fortunate. And while I do work from home, a lot of the work that I do is suddenly not around. Spring craft shows have been canceled across the board, so while I want to sew to manage my anxiety, it's not like I really need to build up more stock. Another thing I do is online transcription, but with offices closing, not a lot of work is being submitted.

And I don't even want to talk about Etsy. People haven't hit stress/therapy shopping yet, other than for necessary supplies and perhaps some reading material.

So what am I doing to keep myself from climbing the walls? Prepping the garden for spring, working on my next book (which thankfully has little mention of infectious disease), cleaning corners of the house which I haven't looked into since we moved in, and yes, still sewing. Because if I don't make things, my brain will leak out my ears, and then where will I be?

It's too early to tell, but I feel like this is going to cause some massive reset in our society. How that will work out, I can't even imagine. I hope it's not as bad as I fear it will be. I hope everybody keeps to themselves as much as possible, but also that they get outdoors when they can. Just sitting in the sun for a few minutes makes me feel better.

What about you? How are you handling your quarantine/shelter-in-place/work-from-home/social distancing?


Kathryn Steigleder said...

Hi Karen, my Mom is in a Board and Care facility also on lockdown. Today I was able to go there and see her through a window, with the caregiver on the phone so she could hear me. As heartbreaking as that was, at least we saw each other for a few minutes. I wonder if that's possible with your MIL? Keep posting, I enjoy reading about your life and work. Thanks, Kathy

bbarna said...

Hi Karen. Glad to hear you are prepared for a bit of lockdown. We all seem to be in this same leaky boat. I have lots of food and supplies, so we can hang in for a bit. Garden time is a few months away (we are in Northern Canada and still have snow and temps in the minuses). I have lots of sewing and quilting supplies as well as yarn to keep busy with. We are semi retired, but depend on our longarm quilting business to make ends meet. I am a little concerned about that, but have made arrangements with clients to pay by credit card and pickup outside my door, if that is what makes them comfortable. I can also get them to drop off at the door and we will do our consult on skype or via email.
I guess what made me sad was that we had waited until this year to pay for a once in a lifetime trip to Europe (42 years of marriage) and will now have to cancel and possibly lose some of the trip money...Also the library is closed!
Take care and keep on blogging

Vicki M said...

I have two trips booked for this year that of course I now won't be able to do. I will also be working from home now and as a single women with kids overseas and interstate it will be hard. This is just something that none of us could have thought up on our own! My parents are both gone and would be turning over in their grave if they knew that church services had been cancelled. (i;m in Australia)

Summer Flies said...

I spoke with my son yesterday and said there will be a massive reset of the world as we know it as you said. I think many people will revert to old ways of doing things, making things, growing things, doing thing yourself. If we get locked down I have enough sewing stash to get me by for years. We have planned clearing things, painting inside and possibly outside and the yard could do with a lot of work. I work for the social security department of our country so we would be considered an essential service so work will be there but maybe we'll have to work from home if they can set enough of us up. One day at at time.

Jodie said...

It's been an interesting few days. I'm a high school teacher in Alberta - so schools closed to students Monday and by Wednesday afternoon we were to be sent home as well. I have family who were down in the US who got out and we are now all quarantined for the next 14 days. I spent much of today on and off line in various meetings. It's just so hard to predict what my "work" day is going to look like. I'm outside of a major centre and we are pretty well stocked so there is that. Feels like my world has spun out of control. I have lots in my sewing room to keep me busy and am hoping to get on a "schedule" a bit to be able to have pieces of time in there.
Stay well everyone!

Pattyskypants said...

When "things get back to normal" "normal" will be entirely different. Few people seem to understand that. Like you, I have entertained many fears. Obviously government could care less, so we do have to fix this ourselves. Can we do it? I'm pessimistic that we can "fix" it, but I know we will be getting on with it . . . as painful or as pleasant as it might be. Skillful people will always be in demand no matter what social system prevails. I hope.