Saturday, March 28, 2020

Taking It Slow

Although I hear that many people here are disregarding the Michigan Governor's Stay At Home order.  Only essential businesses are allowed to be open, and we are only supposed to leave home for errands involving groceries, health and things necessary to life.   But we hear that the few open stores are crowded, which is a cause for concern.  Here at our house things are quiet and slow.   I saw a cute post on Facebook that says it all for me -- "I always thought I wanted to clean my house but didn't have the time.  Now I know that was not the reason."   There are so many projects that I should be working on, both practical ones and things I once thought would be fun.  But I seem to do less, and have less energy, than ever before.  Even the sewing room and kitchen don't tempt me.   My daughter in law is running a temperature, my daughter is looking forward to being released into the highly infected New Orleans area but melting down over how long the system is taking, and my brother is insisting that he wants to go home, where he lives alone in an area with few services.   We hear that some hospitals will not treat anyone with suspected COVID-19 if they are over 60; the youngest of us is 65.  And of course some commentators have suggested that grandparents should be willing to die -- supposedly for their grandchildren, but really so that portfolios can recover by boosting the stock market.  That kind of news is sort of a blow to ones self worth.   It is hard some days to find that elusive inner peace, even though nothing nothing nothing is really wrong.   But the ice cream will be gone before long.  What's a gal to do?

Some neighborhood critter seems to be trying to cheer things up, though.   We have received two gifts on our back deck this week: a dead chipmunk and a whole slice of fresh rye bread.  I know that they likely came from different sources, but I prefer to think of it as one gift-giver, either intent on pleasing us or, just as likely, trying to show us what it's like if your preferred food source isn't available.   We haven't been good lately about filling the feeders with corn and seed because we'll have no way of buying more when it is gone.  As far as we know, bird feed stores are not essential services.

We've also been visited by another turkey vulture this week and now, of course, we know why.  We still find it hard to believe that our deer succumbed to starvation -- he just didn't look or act that frail -- and so we wonder whether we have predators that could have taken him down.  We'll never know, the body was too far gone by the time we found it, but in these days with nothing to do but think, we are thinking.

I made and sent the sample masks for our nurse-relatives.  Their States, further south,  have not (yet) been hit as hard as Michigan has by COVID-19, so their hospitals told them they were not allowing homemade masks at this time.  Our relatives asked for one sample to try, so that they would know whether to ask for more if things get worse there.   I hoped they would never need to use them, although I know that they have many non-medical workers who are not protected and who could benefit (at least emotionally) from their use.    But I just this minute got a text from one of them saying they will now be "allowed" to wear home made masks.   This is not good news, because it would not be allowed if there weren't a shortage of the more protective gear.  

Locally and maybe nationally, we are out of elastic, out of ribbon, out of jewelry wire, and I can't find many of those items in my stash.    I have plenty of cotton material, though, and I can always make ties.  For my first masks I used the wire twisties from bakery wrappers to create the nose "pinch," but they would be nicer and easier to do with better materials, just as elastic would make the masks fit and feel better.  But I will keep sewing a variety of styles with what I have.  I will need to find another chair, though, if I am going to make many of these, because the strain on my surgical arm becomes annoying almost immediately with the current set up.  I have a new pattern that I used today that include rubber bands for the ear pieces.  I am not sure whether our ordinary, cheap rubber bands will be at all durable, but it is worth a try.  They do seem to wash and dry well, and are not uncomfortable to wear.   Since I am out of bakery twisties, there is no nose 'pinch' in these masks.   I've made some for our family, and now I will start on donations for the local health care systems that have requested them.

Meanwhile, here at home, we are moving too little and eating too much.  I made blueberry muffins this morning, a welcome break from the healthier breakfasts we've been eating, and perhaps a sign tht I am almost ready to get up off my rear!  It is time to create a schedule, I think, and to find a new normal in this not normal time.  We would like to support our local businesses and most of them are offering carryout food, but so far I have not taken advantage of that.   I feel safer just staying and eating at home, but I am pretty sure we will be trying one of the curbside options before this is all over.   I know I will need to visit the pharmacy in the next week or so to pick up prescription refills, and maybe that will be a good time to order food since I will need to be out anyway.  Besides, the list that was published in the local paper indicated that our favorite small batch ice cream store is on the list of open and essential businesses!      And Starbucks will still hand coffee through their drive through window.   It is amazing to me that my Facebook feed is so filled with complaints of hardship at having to stay at home.

My scofflaw husband supported one local business yesterday by ordering flowers for me, a surprise on  many levels -- I didn't think a florist would be open since they can hardly be called essential, but some small companies are staying open until they are told personally that they have to close.  According to the local newspaper, the police are visiting those small merchants to give warnings, and  reports say that even going out in our personal vehicles for an aimless drive violates the Governor's 'Stay At Home' order.   So the flowers are probably contraband, but they were a nice surprise and make a bright spot in the living room.  The lilies smell like summer and good memories of better days, despite the frightening news, rain and dreary skies.  It is hard to believe that just a couple of weeks ago, the Grands were in school preparing for science fair, robotics and the school play.  The older ones were getting ready for prom and graduation.   In what seemed like an instant, life's priorities are different than we've ever known.    I hope that we, and especially the younger ones, come out of this still filled with optimism for the future, perhaps a future that will have less focus on the "me" and more recognition of our shared planet and shared fate.


Barbara said...

The flowers certainly brightened things up, didn’t they? I haven’t made any masks. It seems as if thousands of people are making them, and so I haven’t felt as if my paltry contribution to the effort has been necessary. Oregon hasn’t been as hard hit as some areas, although that could change. Our governor acted early shutting things down, and she was criticized for it, but good for her for taking a cautious approach. We get wild birdseed at our local feed store. If you have one of those nearby, you could probably get birdseed there. Animals have to eat too, and so feed stores are considered essential in our area. Also, cannibis dispensaries and liquor stores.

Marie Louise said...

What a beautiful bouquet. Here the flowershops are closed but the quiltshops are still open! I don't know if it is true but in our paper I read that in your state gunshops are considered essential and thus open. Is the food situation so serious that you need to go out hunting?? Just kidding...
My way to stay sane is not following the news all day but trying to do things as usual.
Be careful with your arm and shoulder, don't do too much with them.