Mary Beth Writes

What do you miss?  What, in our new pandemical world do you miss most from our pre-pandemical world?You know, the one we lived in till two weeks ago?

I don’t mean the heartbreaking realities such as safe medical care providers and enough places to go should one become ill and the loved ones that we are losing.

I just mean, what are we getting used to? Or trying to get used to. What might we never go back to?

I am observing how complicated getting groceries has become. Last week we placed an online order and the earliest we could pick it up was three days later. So, logically, Monday while eating stuff we bought Saturday, we made a new list. This earliest assured time to get it would be via delivery to us Friday night at 8:00. We looked at each other and shrugged. It isn’t like we have Friday night plans. 

Maybe a routine will fall into place around this but it feels onerous to be this proactive about groceries. Then, of course, one thinks about people who don’t have paychecks, don’t have income, are generally poor, or who live in harm’s way most of the time. 

So get over yourself, Danielson. 

But I really do miss not thinking about groceries five days before I need them.

(Since I wrote this, a friend mentioned in an email that she is connected to Instacart. She got what she ordered one hour after she ordered it for a 5% surcharge.  Which is less than we are paying.  I guess we are figuring this out together, right?)

I miss the background bustle of the world.  I miss knowing there are people at work, kids at school, customers scrounging endcaps at Target, singers at choir rehearsals, board members at boards. I even miss sports enthusiasts in stadiums. Though did you know authorities are pinning the disastrous Coronavirus calamity in Italy and now to Spain to ONE big soccer game (Italy vs Spain) played in Bergamo two days before the first infections began? https://time.com/5809848/game-zero-soccer-game-italy/

Yesterday I walked to, through, and then back home from downtown Waukesha. In that whole 70-minute walk I only passed five people and two of them were with each other. Most everything downtown is closed except for the exotic fish store. In case you suddenly need tetras? I also walked by the liquor store and thank God it’s open. I bet one can place an order and pick it up in less than four days... 

The quietness is unsettling. I’ve read that explorers and traders in north America in the 1600’s and 1700’s would sometimes come upon native villages where houses still stood, crops were growing, dogs were wandering, but all the inhabitants were lying where they had died. We won’t come to that but this quietness rings a warning.

Today (while walking, what else do I do?)  I saw three adults standing six feet from each other while talking and laughing. They all waved to me and I waved back.  Who could have guessed this would become a treasured moment in a person’s day?

You are watching or not paying attention to the news as much as you can stand to know what’s happening, or as much as you are trying to create some distance from the loss and fear. I’m not here to update you on the news. It’s everywhere.

But I think of this. Movies, television, and books have trained us to think that war and catastrophe are events that begin, ensue, occur, and then end.  War is guys in uniforms blasting away at each other. War is terrified women running for their lives with their babes in their arms. Catastrophe is the hurricane bashing, the flood spilling, the fire cascading down a mountainside. 

All these things are true. But we forget that calamity is also the little stuff.  How we get our food. What we tell our teenagers when they want to go out, but they can’t. How we decide who gets to watch what on TV tonight. The half-baked art projects we try to do with the grandkids. The extra lullabies and stories for our littlest ones. It’s waving at people we don’t know who wave back, because it feels so good to acknowledge each other. It’s virtual church and facetiming friends and the incredible amount of touching and funny stuff on Facebook and Twitter.

We are coping, observing, and changing. All of us together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On the plus: less laundry, cleaner house, more walking, catching up on paperwork, more reading, sharing coffee with a friend- outside and 6ft apart, happy to donate to those helping 'the cause'. Currently: coming up with something fun to do with my grandkids through the sliding glass door....hmmm
Mary Beth's picture

Good question. We can read to our toddler before her nap - but that probably isn't as appealing to a 6 and 8 year old. How are we all interacting with children in this time? Good question.

My husband and I are “seniors”, now, and retired, like you and Len. So my week was regular babysitting gigs for a few of my grandkids, lunch with my amazing 100(!) y/o mom, and church. All the anchor points of the week are gone now; I’m not even sure what day it is! Lois
Mary Beth's picture

Yup, all day today it was Wednesday until, wups, it is Thursday. I have kids (you know them!) who could use us to help do serious lifting on the child care while they work from home - but their intersections with the world are too great and the most vulnerable people are probably us. The markers are skewed.

TY

A woman on our neighborhood site "next door.com is writing about how she's dealing with the day to day stuff so I recommended that she and anyone else so inclined look your sight up...

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Quarantine Diary #67 5/27/2020 White People

When I’m not here at my desk, I’m outside in the dirt. I have spent much of the past week in my backyard doing cute projects, clearing weeds, planting seeds, moving plants. I even moved a tree! (Granted, it was a small tree.)

In about an hour I will be out there again until all my little vegetable and basil plants are planted. It’s supposed to rain this afternoon.

So that’s part of my quarantine, I’m dickering around in my own yard. Suits my introverted mood.

Quarantine Diary #66, 5/24/2020 Zoom Birthday

This week we Zoom-celebrated (zoom-abrated?) the first birthday of our grandson. This was a very different kind of party in our family which ALWAYS celebrates kid’s birthdays. We always have over a few too many friends and relatives. We always have a mound of presents the kids doesn’t actually need. We always have appetizers and pizza, an activity for kids, and a cake. We always sing Happy Birthday too slowly while the kid stares at the candles.

Quarantine Diary #65 – 5/22/2020 Shontay & Irresistible Iridescence

Science Daily website reports this scientific discovery. Bats have an unusual mammal response to viruses they encounter; they don’t get sick to fight the virus like the rest of us mammals do. Instead they act as a kind of long-term host for viruses. A bat is a repository of the viruses it has encountered in its batty life.

Quarantine Diary #64, 5/20/2020 Twenties & Assets

First of all, tonight at 8:20 the time will be 20:20 on 20/2020. If you have kids, or if you are your own odd duck, I think that would be a good time to celebrate. When our kids were young we celebrated New Year’s Eve by piling, on a table on a tablecloth, a crazy stack of metal cookie sheets, muffin tins, bread pans, and bowls. When midnight struck they would try to pull the tablecloth out from under the stack, everything would teeter and then tumble with a terrific crash and the cats would run and it was satisfying.

New Photo & Old Column About Spring

The photo is from this morning and is for you, Michol! This dam on the Fox River is alive with rushing water.

Quarantine Diary #63 - 5/18/2020 Flooding, It's changing now

We had three inches of rain here yesterday. This is what the Fox River by Riverwalk condominiums looks like today.

While I was walking along here, an older woman (says me, ahem…) was standing on her sidewalk with her nervous beagle, looking at the over-its-banks river.

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