Social Distancing Week 2
Rooster and I take social distancing Week 2 in stride. We develop projects, read, write, prepare for powerless in a storm, and get questioned by the police. #social distancing #Christmas lights #police #walking
When I started my walk today, the world was alive with the spirit of Spring. The birds chirped from nearby trees, which hadn’t yet had the opportunity to sprout buds. Blue skies with thick white clouds looking like giant marshmallows floated above me. The geese are back. A pair flew overhead and lighted on the roof of the abandoned glass factory, searching for a place to nest.
These noisy birds have a habit of hatching their young in that particular location. Military planes flew in the sky, headed toward the refueling station to the north of where we live.
Evidence of Spring
The sun shone warm on my face, and there was a gentle breeze blowing to make my countless trips around the parking lot comfortable. I noticed purple flowers starting to push their heads out of the ground, and I saw a ladybug on my front porch when I came back from my walk. It was hard to imagine the sparkly new world was trembling because of an invisible virus, which is so tiny that only a microscope can detect its existence. We are in week two of our social distancing. It doesn’t seem right when outside my door; nature is starting to emerge from winter hibernation.
Day one of week two of social distancing
Rooster and I both noticed we are starting to lose track of what day of the week it is. I must have asked him a dozen times if it was Wednesday. He asked me the same question more than once.
Rooster suggested we have something we do that is specific to each day of the week. We should make it part of our routine. It might not be a bad idea, but I hope we aren’t going to have to keep the practice of social distancing up for long. We’ve been able to keep to the daily schedule we vowed to do when we started this COVID-19 experience. There were a couple of variations today.
The inspiration for the Christmas lights
We saw a beautiful thing people were doing in Canada. They were dragging out their Christmas lights and hanging them again to give people optimism about the future in this time of crisis. Our effort turned into a complete failure. Rooster and I aren’t the hanging Christmas lights sort of people.
We couldn’t find the outside lights we hung five years ago when we overdosed on Christmas spirit and made one lame attempt to string what we had on our porch. Rooster thought putting up inside lights outside would cause us electrical problems.
Tasks we take on
We’ve decided to tackle a couple of jobs Rooster an I have put off for years. Cleaning out the back room and the shed are two tasks we haven’t looked forward to doing. We’ll revisit hanging lights on the porch if we come across our outside ones when we clean. Some errands have to be done, such as mailing a letter. We timed our visit to the post office late in the evening, so there wouldn’t be anyone around when we placed the envelope in the mailbox. It was an eerie feeling driving the deserted streets with dark clouds hanging in the sky overhead.
Day two of week two of social distancing
One of the signs that we were experiencing an unusual year occurred when I removed the ham I was saving for the Easter church carry in from the freezer and started thawing it to make meals for the entire week. There would be no Easter dinner with family and friends this year.
Today we had to make our first trip to the grocery store to pick up a few things to use if I was going to do the ham any justice. A local grocery is offering special hours for seniors. Rooster and I decided to take advantage of this service. We put gloves on our hands before we entered the store. It felt weird the way folks were staying away from one another, but it was important for people to respect the six-foot distance rule.
Rooster comes up with a mask
I’m worried this virus will turn this nation into people afraid to leave the house. Rooster says we need masks. He found a unique way of making one out of a pair of underwear. He thinks we should wear his creation the next time we go out of the house. I don’t think so.
Day three of week two of social distancing
We went from a bright sunshiny day yesterday to a dark, dismal one today. The overcast sky gave the isolation associated with self-quarantine a depressing undertone. A steady mist transformed into a steady downpour when it was time to take my daily walk.
What we miss
Today is the first time I’ve failed to get in my five miles since we started social isolating. Rooster and I stuck to our routine. I managed to perform an in-depth edit of two chapters in my first book, “Saving the Henhouse.” I plan to read over it tomorrow. The most gloomy thought of the day is the realization its Friday. Before this microscopic enemy attacked our lives, we would have met our daughter and her husband at a local restaurant for dinner.
Sometimes they would bring one or more of our grandkids with them. After we finished eating, we’d go to a locally owned coffee shop and listen to music. The thing I miss most about the real world is the time we spent with the people we love. Rooster and I are thankful we at least have one another.
Note: Our daughter called early Friday evening. She said it was too bad we didn’t have Apple phones. We could all order food from Jay’s Thai and facetime from our separate dining areas. It would be a nice way for the family to recreate our Friday evenings. We all know Rooster is a frugal man. There is no way he would even entertain the idea of paying an outrageous price for an I phone when he could get an Android cheaper.
Day four of week two of social distancing
An explosion of thunder and the flash of lightning woke us up from a sound sleep. We found ourselves in the middle of the spring season’s first thunderstorm, complete with hail and high wind. The weather forecast predicted we had a chance for strong storms later in the afternoon.
There is nothing worse than social distancing in the middle of a pandemic and hear there is a chance a tornado might be a part of your future. I asked Rooster if he had gas for the generator. He said he did, but worried it was old gas. We decided to venture out into the world. First, Rooster poured the gasoline from the storage can into his Chevy Spark. It wouldn’t go to waste if he added what he could to what was already in the car. We drove to the gas station and parked at the furthest pump away from everyone else. Rooster gloved up and started filling the red container with fuel for the generator.
Trying to social distance at the gas pump
A guy in a white truck pulled up to the pump across from him. There were at least four free pumps at the other end of the lot where he could have filled his vehicle. This man had no concept of what it meant to practice social distancing. The only thing separating Rooster from this man was the metal gas pump.
Rooster says the way he acted is all part of human nature. If we see another individual in a location, we naturally flock to the other person. None of us wants to be alone. I guess the number of cars in the grocery store parking lot is a testament to his theory. It was like a giant petri dish waiting for the virus transmission between customers. Shopping for food is the most dangerous location at this point in history. My daughter will have to go back to work as a grocery store clerk in a couple of days. I am so worried about her safety. Enough of the hoarding behavior already.
The storms stayed south of us all evening. I was glad we didn’t have to spend time in the basement. I am making a note to myself. If I ever have to face another pandemic, I will make sure to store some gas for the generator and check the batteries in the smoke alarms.
Day five of week two of social distancing
I knew we were suffering from cabin fever when Rooster asked, “What are we going to do today?” My response was, “You’re looking at it.” He started coming up with ideas on how we could escape the house and avoid coming into contact with people. We decided our best course of action would be to go on a drive in the country. Rooster had to pick up a prescription from the pharmacy.
If we had to go out, we might as well take the long road to get to our destination. I wouldn’t have believed a simple drive would become a dangerous activity. Rooster wore gloves at the pharmacy window. It gave him the creeps when he was required to provide the clerk with his driver’s license and sign his name on a clipboard. The procedure was something he’d done countless times in the past without giving it a second thought.
We found the lights
On a brighter note, we found our outdoor Christmas lights. Our daughter came over to pick up hand sanitizer from us. We left the sanitizer on the porch, so we wouldn’t share any physical contact making the exchange. The sanitizer handoff felt like a drug deal going down in the neighborhood. After our granddaughter retrieved the sanitizer from the porch, we gave one another long-distance hugs. Rooster and I stood on the porch, and my daughter’s family sat in the car while we talked. They bought hooks to hang the lights and a few other items for us while they went for groceries.
Day six of week two of social distancing
An event happened today that sent a cold shiver up our spines. There was a knock at the door. Rooster answered it without thinking. The guy standing on our front porch opened the storm door and started talking. He couldn’t figure out why our eighty-one-year-old neighbor wouldn’t answer his door when he knocked. Ray went to the hospital several days ago for an unrelated to COVID-19 issue. The guy standing on our porch couldn’t get the concept of social distancing through his thick head. Rooster raised some concerns after the man left. He said he hoped he hadn’t answered the door to the Angel of Death. We live in scary times.
It’s a good thing I have my stash under the stairs
Our city has issued an order prohibiting the sale of nonessential merchandise. People in our municipality are congregating at hardware and grocery stores. They are the only places open for business right now. They can’t make a trip to one of the local restaurants and find a good liar’s table to congregate around. Books are one of the items on the nonessential list. It’s a good thing I prepared for this catastrophe. I might not have hoarded hand sanitizer or toilet paper, but I have my kindle and the secret stash of books I keep under the stairs.
My reading routine for the duration of our social isolation will consist of catching up with some of my favorite authors. I started with a series by S.S. Bazinet. I plan to move to Julie Smith next. She writes about the city of New Orleans, where we planned to take our vacation this year. I’ll read one of the books I have stashed under the stairs next, though. I’m thinking about Stephen King. It will be an interesting reading adventure.
Day seven of week two of social distancing
Today is our official two weeks social distancing anniversary. Rooster and I don’t have any trace of the virus yet. We have had only minimal contact with other people. We figure we can do this until the end of April without killing one another or threatening to get divorced. We’ve concluded we would make good lifeboat mates. We couldn’t imagine what it would be like to go through this experience alone.
I was questioned by the police today while I was out for my walk. I’m using the parking lot of an abandoned glass factory as my track during the time we are social distancing. There are “no trespassing” signs attached to the wall of the building. The police were pulling over people who are ignoring the travel order in our city. They even pulled over a guy on a moped.
I thought it was a little bit of overkill when three police cars swooped down on him. After they finished warning him, one of the patrol cars pulled into the parking lot where I was walking. The officer wanted to know where I was going. He wasn’t concerned about me walking in the empty lot. He wanted to make sure I was complying with the city’s stay at home order. There are a lot of people in our community treating this pandemic like a vacation. They are putting the rest of us at risk.
At the end of week one, Rooster and I are still healthy. We’d like to stay that way. I’ve washed my hands twenty times before I lost track today. We’re eating Easter ham for the fourth time tonight. Tomorrow starts our third week of social distancing. COVID-19 is turning us into obsessive hand washing agoraphobics, but there are worse things that could happen to us during this frightening time in history.
Rooster started hanging the lights on our porch bench. I’m trying to persuade him not to stop there. (I mentioned before we aren’t Christmas light people. I don’t think lights on a bench will gender much encouragement in our time of trouble, but I don’t want to turn into a nagging wife over the subject.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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