Can i get a witness?

We were both tucked comfortably into our respective bedrooms, swilling wine using our time at home to catch up by video chat.  Gintia moved away just over a year ago, and we hadn’t talked in a few months.

Comparing notes, we acknowledged the privilege of being only mildly inconvenienced by a global pandemic. We have not lost income, are reasonably able to procure food and supplies we need, and do not have to go to work “on the front lines” – healthcare, grocery, delivery, fire protection, law enforcement.

The weight of a global health and economic crisis was still threaded through the conversation, and i voiced my feeling of general helplessness – given my demographic, what can i really do to help?

“We are witness to history. Perhaps journaling, writing… somehow documenting what this feels like, what it looks like…”

Witness.

Yes, that is the word. She nailed it. We can witness. From where we are, with what we have, with what we see. What we feel.

Here’s a glimpse of my world these days:

  • Routine: i’ve been retired for almost 3 years. i liked not having a routine! Once quarrantined, i was drawn to a schedule. My morning  – language lesson (Turkish, using Duolingo) in bed with my morning coffee. A ‘plank challenge’ with a group of my SCUBA friends on Facebook. Studying for my HAM radio license. Daily walks – meeting Studley daily, between 3-5 miles. Sometimes around the neighborhoods, sometimes in a park.

Duolingo One Year

 

  • Rescheduling Trips: Three trips between March and June (so far) are being replanned. An inconvenience. A privilege to have the flexibility to reschedule. We are not going to complain. So it goes…

one of three

  • Doomsday Prep: For many years, i’ve been preparing to die. We’d started sorting out our affairs last fall, but given current events this has become more time critical. We found an attorney who could update wills, and sort issues related to property disposition. Lots of sorting, shredding, and filing in the home offices to get our other information up-to-date.

where there's a will

  • Pantry Raids: To be good citizens, we grocery shop every other week. Leaving the delivery services to those more in need, we are stretching the fresh goods, digging into the freezer, and doing more aggressive meal planning. Baking? You bet! Don’t let those bananas go bad – mash ’em up, and turn them into brown butter banana nut bars! i’ve done more cooking and baking in the past three weeks than i’ve done since Christmas.  Sometimes it’s like playing the home edition of “Chopped” – “Hmmm, what can i make from a half jar of artichokes, a can of SPAM, two apples, and quinoa?”

blueberry apple crumble

  • Porch Drops: i’m not the only one baking! Studley dusted off his mother’s ‘devil dog’ recipe. Other friends are doing cookies and breads. Rather than bash them in isolation, we’ve started doing ‘porch drops’ – containers of cookies, coloring pages, notes of encouragement, a shared bag of flour. Every few days one of us will drive the circuit. These deliveries bring a good bit of joy.

got your backside

  • Video Connection: With my children and grandcritters far away, i’ve gotten comfortable using vid chat. Beyond mugging for the littles, i’m now doing more video time than ever. Weekly (or bi-weekly) ‘meet ups’ with friends – we’ve done an on-line game night, and have watched movies “together”.  i’ve set up a weekly chat with my sisters. Catching up with friends, like Gintia, who are distant – she noted that there was absolutely no reason we couldn’t do that before the pandemic. She arranged a “group crafting meet up” via conferencing. It was lovely to meet new people, listen to their stories, while i was trying not to sew my fingers together while making face masks!
  • Random Mental Health Exercises: Since so many events have been canceled, we took a cue from a local cosplaying friend, and decided to get dressed up anyway. A stroll around the neighborhood, and through the cemetery, in steampunk gear… because why not?

steampunks

That’s what the days feel like here. What are your days like? How are they the same, or different, than they were before the advent of an historic global pandemic? What will you want your descendents to know about your experience?

28 thoughts on “Can i get a witness?

  1. Oh, I’m sure that’s all good, but it sounds so tiring! I want to minimise the effort that I put into my life. But never mind, I raise my glass of cider in a western direction 🙂

    • It’s strange, but i do feel a bit busy some days. For what it’s worth, other than hoarking up this blog post, i’ve spent most of the day in bed, eating garbagefood, and napping at will…

  2. My routine and daily life has changed significantly!
    I am essential … so off to work I go! Other colleagues of mine have retired, are out on leave or were given permission to Telecommute. My request was denied as the work I do involves sensitive information znd money.
    I have taken measures to keep my work area safe. Wiped down morning & night. No one else is near me …. but trying to stay 6ft apart in an office is challenging.
    I also moved 40 miles closer to work amidst all this …. that was a treat! I’m working on getting my son set up to finish his freshman year, and we are between districts with no help from either one.
    My inconveniences are many … I stood in line for 30 minutes to get into the grocery store. If I were on normal hours I wouldn’t mind … but I am remanded to 10 hour shifts.
    I worry about my family in NY …. you’ve seen the numbers, enough said.
    I had to cancel 2 trips and am trying to stay healthy as I am medically compromised.
    But …. I wake up every day, thankful I do.
    I have endless gratitude!!!
    That is my current picture ……

    Stay safe Ms. Fae & Studley …. your adventures shine light for some of us. 😊😊

    • i’m so sorry you’ve got this kind of stress – cannot imagine moving during such a massive disruption. we are trying to stay completely home on the weekends, leaving those precious spots in the queues at the grocery stores for those who still have to be somewhere M-F, 9-5. Same with the parks – leaving extra space for people who only have a couple days each week to have fresh air. Holding you, and yours, in my thoughts, Ms. Fyre. ❤

  3. My daily routine hasn’t changed a whole lot. Since I became a widow in 2018 I’ve had to learn how to be on my own and live by myself for the first time. In the mornings while I have my coffee (thank you Keurig!) I do several word puzzles courtesy of a subscription to the NYT. I read the news there and on the Washington Post. You know, the “fake” stuff. lol I don’t get to have my Zumba classes anymore, but I take my little Chihuahua for at least a half hour walk with him in his doggy stroller. Then he gets sniff/pee/poop time at a little park. Our town has closed all restaurants and bars and since we’re a tourist destination the town looks pretty barren. On the plus side, the paper didn’t list any public intoxication arrests this last week.

    Like you, I do my lessons (Russian mainly, sometimes Spanish) on DuoLingo every day. I really enjoy them and am so glad to be able to do that. My cat, by the way, goes nuts when I speak to him in Russian. Head bumps, purring, etc. I don’t know what it is that affects him that way. Maybe I sound like Natasha Fatale in “Rocky & Bullwinkle.”

    I’m over 70 so I’ve decided to completely avoid any contact with other people, including, unfortunately, my grandkids and family here. They stopped by yesterday to check on me and we had a conversation while they were in their truck and I was a safe distance away. I don’t go grocery shopping and rely on what I can order through Walmart, with deliveries via FedEx. I’ve had deliveries about every other day and yesterday when I knew there would be another one (on a Saturday, no less, and in the rain) I put a sign on my front door that said “Thank you, FedEx, for all you do! Stay safe.” When I went outside to get the packages, I saw that the driver had written “Thank you, be safe. Homer (FedEx)” on my sign. What would we do without all the folks who keep working in these dangerous times?

    I saw this story on the Washington Post and put it on my Facebook page. The woman in the article was born two years after my father and two years before my mother. Their stories are pretty similar.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2020/04/05/centenarian-coronavirus-1918-flu-depression-world-war-2/?fbclid=IwAR0CqUVYNEX5AO2lBU7b56kWcl9UY0_-XeLxSAKSTa1kaeN7gIj1HmzhgP8

    Take care, daisyfae!

    • Likewise, around here there haven’t been drunk driving accidents, or school shootings for that matter. :-/

      i finally had a chance to catch up with my neighbor’s daughter yesterday. Jessica is over 80, and her daughter and family had backed into the driveway, while Jessica sat on a lawn chair in her garage. i was able to swap phone numbers with her daughter – and offer whatever support they might need. Although the video chats are nice, i do wish i could see my kids and their kids… one of the canceled trips was to be to visit my son, and be there for the grandcritters 5th birthday.

      we do occasional carryout from local restaurants – quite a few still hanging in there with take away and delivery food. i tend to tip a bit outrageously when we do. they are working hard, barely making enough to cover rent.

      Loved that WaPo article – it was just what i needed to read today. “This too shall pass”. Take care! ❤

  4. No descendants here.
    My world has shrunk. My age and my chronic medical condition led me to being stood down from shifts on the crisis line. I feel bereft (which sounds exaggerated and isn’t). It is hugely busy on the phones and I grieve that I cannot be there. I can and do provide peer support to others with the dread disease and continue my supervisory shifts on the phone lines from home.
    I garden more. I ‘think’ about decluttering. I read. I watch the birds. Flour, yeast, eggs are some of the items in short supply here so I am not baking. I am investigating store cupboards and using forgotten items. Which is a good thing.
    We are all in this together. While I have long wanted world unity this is NOT the way I wanted it to happen.

    • i’m so sorry that it’s not possible for you to stay on the phones – you are still providing a service through the peer support, but i understand that it doesn’t feel the same. One other thing i’m learning? it is ok to not use this time to be productive, to do anyting for that matter. Early on, i would bash myself for ‘wasting a day’ with nothing to show for it. This is a freakin’ pandemic, not a hot yoga class, or a buffet of opportunities for self-actualization! Time in the gardens, time with a book, time with the birds? These are truly important, and necessary things. Be gentle on yourself. Sending love to you, dear one! ❤

  5. I find this whole experience so interesting. I keep thinking of the positive eventual outcomes. For instance, more people might telecommute and free up more road space. We might actually all cook more and find out ‘freezer shit’ is just that. People are talking to their neighbors and we young-ens are teaching our older relatives how to face-time or zoom/skype. (BTW I’m 61) We have been working on our house with the components we have squirreled away. I count myself very very fortunate still being paid for a job I love, and can work from home. So….life is short and maybe extra short now, so I’m going to enjoy it!

    • There are definitely positives – and discovering ‘freezer shit’ is just that is among them! i am now very judicious about what can earn some of my precious freezer space! i am also learning why my mother saved and reused her aluminum foil and saran wrap! Finding the good stuff, and celebrating it, is definitely worthwhile! ❤

  6. Studying for my HAM radio license – I was a surprised to see that on your list. Is that still much of a thing these days?
    Sorting out your final affairs – ah yeah but – It’s important for the family. I just can’t seem it get it going.
    Video connection – yes – we did a Zoom call with cousins across the country. Also, we discovered a nice app call Macro Polo. We share short video with the kids and their kids.
    Being retired has made this less of a shock. Seeing the suffering and worrying about the family does still take its toll.
    We enjoy cemeteries but have not ventured out to one lately.

    • HAM is still going strong – there is a very high ‘nerd’ factor in the afficionados, and the demographic is still largely ‘super crusty old dudes who know a lot of technical details’, but it’s a thing. Our interest is primarily due to our plans to do more boondock camping in remote places, but also is of interest for volunteer emergency public service. When the tornados hit my town last year, the local HAM network was a vital part of the emergency effort.

      You are absolutely right – retirement prepared me for this. i am among the most fortunate in that i don’t really need to go out much. But i’m deeply worried for many friends who have lost income, and have no medical insurance. That’s a double whammy in a time of crisis.

      • I know HAM radios have been used in the past for emergency. I believe the older equipment probably required more power and space for typical camping. The newer equipment is probably smaller and less power hungry. I have seen pickup trucks equipped with radios. I don’t currently know anyone who is an operator.

        • With advances in technology, the size of the radios has definitely decreased! We’re starting with two small hand helds (handi-talkies), and will eventually get a mobile system for the truck we use to haul the camper – complete with the giant antenna! There are even options for all digital (computer) radio systems, but we’re going to have to start with some babysteps. i seriously doubt we’ll ever set up a true “Radio Shack” in the yard! That’s for the truly hard core!

  7. Love your steampunk outfits. I keep waiting for the opportunity to do a steampunk photo shoot, but it could be a while longer before I get the chance now.
    Hope we do get the chance to meet up after this is over 🙂

    • We have more costumes than clothing! Oh, how glorious it would be to participate in a steampunk shoot with you — when we do get over your way (hoping to try to do the Hadrian’s Wall trip later this year) we will be traveling light, but someday… In the meantime, hope you and yours are staying well. Xoxo

  8. Misread it as ‘can I get a waitress.’ No, you can’t.
    Misread it as ‘panty raid.’ It’s been a while.
    My poor NYC is down on its knees. It breaks my heart, really. My company won’t allow me into town so I sit and wait in NJ for the all clear. This is different than 9/11. I was living in the city then. Everyone reached out to help one another. Now, we keep our distance. My poor sprog are missing school. This will be the defining moment of their youth. Daughter #1 is suppose to start college in a few months. I hope it happens.

    • Glad you stopped by! Have been,wondering how things are for you. My life being in hold for a year isn’t of great consequence. I miss some trips, some festivals, and visits with the kids and grand kids. My heart breaks for the high school seniors. The class of 2020 is earning a place in history. They are going to become resilient, fierce, and committed to science – and they will save humanity from itself. Or get really whiny… Hard to say. It’s early. Hug to your daughter…. Xoxoxo

  9. The trip to Jamaica was canceled and though i know that’s first world problems and shit i’m a bit bummed, so are the boyos cuz they love Jamaica (for different reasons than their old man, well not really cuz they love the music and food). The big question is what happens with the Breadwinner’s businesses, she’s part owner of a couple restaurants (local well known breakfast joints, in fact it’s a Lifetime movie, started as a waitress and now she’s part owner), they’re good for another 4-6 months cash wise but then it gets dicey and won’t be near capacity when they do reopen, her main place has hour long waits on weekends cuz that’s how many people jam into the place so they’ll definitely take a hit. Looks like i may be rejoining the workforce sooner rather than later but as we all know the only shit i’m good at is not so reputable business type things and these days even that’s on hold in a lot of places… Instacart here i come, lol!!

    • i’ve canned 3 planned trips, and several more adventures (festivals, burning man events) are also unlikely. the biggest heartache isn’t that i didn’t get the UK hiking adventure, but that i didn’t get to go out west to celebrate my grandsons 5th birthday yesterday. watching him open the gifts i sent on video was sweet, but not quite the same. i understand the disappointment – and that feeling that somehow we are being selfish for bein disappointed in the grand scheme of things. but it still hurts…

      my heart is also breaking for those in the restaurant biz. doing what i can to support – buying merchandise, gift certificates, and doing carryout at least twice a week, but the owners and staff are stressed out – wondering how long they can keep eeking things out. delivery services might be the bridge for many. one bartender friend took a job in a grocery warehouse. another friend has started with Amazon. Here’s hoping that people in the US behave, take this seriously, and the second wave is small and businesses that do get to re-open this summer don’t get slammed shut again in the fall… Xoxoxo

  10. Shame about that UK hiking trip DaisyFae… but I’m sure you’ll get over here sometime. Long countryside walks are something we’re missing also here… not sure if it’s a blessing or not that we can literally see the hills of the Northern Peak district from the train station at the end of our road- in normal times just a 15 minute trainride away, now tantalisingly out of reach.

    We’re coping OK though, the three of us here, and (like you I think) counting ourselves lucky both for the big things (health, income OK) and for the little, everyday ones.

    And … am with your friend (and with you) on how we can witness/chronicle these strange times. That’s exactly what I’ve started doing, just posted my first ‘Double-A-side’ of ‘Lockdown Diary’ as a matter of fact….

    • We are still holding out miniscule nuggets of hope that we can visit Hadrian’s Wall in August, or September of this year – but most likely will postpone til next year. This pesky bug is going to be causing trouble for a bit, and we want to be good citizens, and live long enough to have more adventures!

      Despite an abundance of time, i do not seem to have an abundance of focus – had originally thought i’d be happily out and about in the blogosphere, catching up with everyone i follow. Alas, some days just getting a load of laundry done is my sole accomplishment (although my radio studies are proving helpful in keeping me doing SOMETHING productive). i’ll try to start making the rounds again and catch up on your lockdown diary!

      • Hadrian’s Wall will be worth the wait DaisyFae- and I can say that with some confidence given that a stretch of it (not a very picturesque or well-preserved stretch of it, but still…) passed about twenty yards South of the wall of my secondary school in the suburban West End of Newcastle-upon-Tyne…

        Be great if you could pop by in Lockdown world, Stockport-style, in the meantime, Day Six (I think, I am losing count) just posted over there…

        • Clearly i’ve failed at being a witness… i hit a trough and nothing seemed particularly noteworthy, least of all the time spent in my head. i’m going to take some time this week to get out and visit the blogmates. Hope you’re doing well! We are still planning the Hadrian’s walk, just no idea when Americans will be allowed to visit other places!

  11. Not a day goes by that we speak out loud how grateful and fortunate we are. Although my husband is working the front line as a bus driver, we are 90% comfortable with the company’s protocol. As for me, I’m down to 4 hours 3 days a week. Still get unemployment $’s which supplements my income. My job involves sales into foodservice establishments….draw those obvious conclusions. Cancelled a trip to Spain and will reschedule for somewhere, some time. BUT, I am gardening the shit out of my yard. New planting beds, new split rail fence, new teensy greenhouse, new grape arbor…..all components 90% delivered. Projects continue, which doesn’t even count the remodeled small powder room where we had those components purchased over time pre-quarantine. So, yeah, were staying busy and grateful. Oh yeah lots and lots of video happy hours and even snail mail sent out. I feel mildly guilty for enjoying this time.

    • i’m glad you’ve found a good balance – i have been home enough this summer that i am growing peppers and tomatoes on my patio! And have yet to kill off all of the annuals! This is a modern day miracle!

      Time spent doing home projects is generally not wasted! i haven’t tackled much in that regard, but have been beating my head on maintenance and upkeep.

      Hope you’ve continued to do well throughout!

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