Social Distancing week 3
During social distancing week 3, rooster and I took on several projects. We celebrated his birthday, I started a Stephen King novel, and we almost burnt the house down. #COVID-19 #Desperation #Stephen King #Christmas lights #grandkids #motorcycle ride
Week three of social distancing has turned into the practice of living a life of routine in the middle of a national disaster. It isn’t your typical event-based catastrophe. A hurricane didn’t hit the United States coastline. Airplanes flown by terrorists didn’t crash into buildings.
There wasn’t an atomic bomb explosion or a tornado outbreak. (I take that back. Several tornados did touch down in the south this week.) A virus the size of a microscopic bug invaded our shores and took us all by surprise. How do you fight against an invisible enemy? The hidden, silent killer element of this threat is what has Rooster and I glued to the television for at least an hour after we get up in the morning.
Front row seat to a train wreck
The only thing I can compare this experience is like having a front-row seat to a train wreck. The carnage you are witnessing is so horrid, but you still can’t take your eyes off of the action. We force ourselves to shut off the television after we’ve watched for an hour. There’s a certain point when your mind is so saturated with the horror you can’t take anymore.
Day one of week three of social distancing
Rooster found another bag of Christmas lighting in the shed. He took it as a sign we should take the morning off from our quarantine routine and decorate the front porch. If you will remember from my week two blog, we saw an example of Christmas lights strung in a community to bring hope and joy to people during the COVID-19 tragedy.
We now had the Christmas lights, the extension cords, the hooks my daughter and her husband bought for us on their run to the store for groceries. There was no reason why we should settle for Rooster’s pathetic lights on the bench idea. It took us most of the day to design our display. We had to use what was around the house.
The great Christmas light project begins
There was no reason for us to run to the store for supplies and risk getting exposed to the enemy. Our best advantage of defeating this foe is to remain hunkered down in our fox hole and use the resources we have on hand. I tried to make a sign. All I had was a large piece of cardboard and one magic marker.
I tried to attach lights to the letters to spell out the words, but the material I was using was too flimsy to hold the bulbs in place. I put the sign on the porch once we finished. Rooster said no one could read it from the road, but I thought it was important for us to add a message of hope to our creation.
We managed to brighten up the block
It took us the entire day to finish decorating the porch. People gaped at us from passing cars as we went about our work. They must have thought, “Look at the old senile couple. They forgot what season we’re not going to celebrate this year.” We had two sets of lights we had to toss into the trash. Whenever one of the bulbs on the string touched something, they exploded like a bomb. Maybe no one will understand why we strung lights on our front porch. It doesn’t matter because the activity gave us a nice break from our quarantine routine. We finished by the time it got dark. Another day of social distancing drew to a close.
Day two of week three of social distancing
This morning, I stepped on a piece of glass left behind by one of yesterday’s exploding bombs. It wasn’t a bad cut, but Rooster thought I should protect myself from infection. His first-aid solution was to grab a can of disinfectant cleaning spray and apply it to the wound on my foot. It stung. In my opinion, it was a little bit of overkill. The prick was so minor I doubt it needed such a harsh chemical solution.
When Rooster called, I stopped my walk before I got all my steps completed. Our youngest daughter and her girls were coming by to check on us. Rooster and I have agreed to speak with all visitors from behind the glass on our storm door. I hurried to cross the street, managing to get into position seconds before they arrived. We could still talk to them, but the barrier prevented us from acting on the temptation to give hugs. The five of us had a nice social distancing visit. They stayed on the porch, and we remained in the house.
The grandkids visit through the door
The day was too glorious to stay off the motorcycle. We pulled the Indian out of the shed and went for a short ride armed with a couple of rules. The first was not to have contact with anyone or touch anything while we were gone.
The short trip helped lend a sense of normalcy to the day. It might sound strange for someone to take a motorcycle ride in the middle of their quarantine routine, but every biker knows being on their scoot is the ultimate form of social distancing. That one short trip fortified us to make it through another week. We climbed back into our fox hole and will attempt to hunker down until we get the all-clear.
This evening, I took out one of the books I keep in my secret stash underneath the stairs. Rooster noticed I was reading Stephen King’s Desperation. He thinks it’s a little creepy for me to be reading a King book in the middle of a plague. The wicked Teddy bear picture on the cover reinforced his opinion. I told him I was sticking with tradition. I read The Shining during the “Great Blizzard” of 1978. On a happier note, I now have twenty-thousand Twiter followers. Yay! This number is a big deal for me since all I have to offer is a few interesting words and some chicken pictures.
Day three of week three of social distancing
I’m starting to experience the sensation of the walls closing in on me. The short motorcycle ride yesterday wasn’t enough. When Rooster had to go to the doctor’s office for his monthly shot, I rode along with him. He discovered he was low on vitamin B on his last visit. The office is giving him injections to correct the deficiency. He is lucky. It’s one of the few medical procedures you can receive in this city right now. It was a nice ride, but it didn’t last long enough to lift my spirits.
I feel sluggish today. I had to force myself to cross the street and do my walk on the makeshift track in the abandoned glass factory parking lot. I got 10,000 steps in before I decided to quit. We’re only in the third week. I can’t get lazy now. I’ve managed to put on some weight during this social distancing experience. There is a tendency to crave comfort food when you find yourself in a crisis.
My blood glucose is testing between 70 and 90. These numbers are good readings for me. It used to read much higher a couple of years ago. It could get up to 150 by the end of the day. I don’t need to revert to those levels. I feel sluggish, but I still went for my walk.
Day four of week three of social distancing
Today was the same as yesterday and the day before, with the one exception of it being Rooster’s birthday. Before the world fell apart, we would have gone on an excursion. With any luck, it would have turned into an adventure worth writing about in one of my blogs. This year our normal mode of celebration is out of the question. I found a cake mix at the back of the pantry.
It was a purchase I made before I cut sweets out of our diet. I made the decision I was going to make Rooster a COVID-19 birthday cake. I went into our precious egg supply and discovered I had three eggs left. At this point, we’re now attempting to conserve food, so we don’t need to make unnecessary runs to the grocery store. I didn’t have frosting, but I found a can of pineapple and a small amount of brown sugar. All the ingredients I needed to make the cake were ready and waiting for me to throw them together.
There was no possibility I was going to surprise Rooster with the cake. The man wasn’t going to leave the house to run an errand or go for a solo motorcycle ride. I couldn’t bake the cake in secret. There was no chance of a surprise party with family and friends jumping out of the closet. I didn’t even have candles for the cake tucked in the back of one of my kitchen drawers. The cake served as a nice addition to our evening meal. I think Rooster enjoyed the treat even though he claims I’m trying to fatten him up with my COVID-19 cooking. The cake turned out to be the highlight of our day.
Day five of week three of social distancing
The COVID-19 Task Force announced people should now wear face masks if they go outside their homes. This recommendation is contradictory to what they have been saying since this pandemic started to unfold. We have a big problem here at the hacienda. Face masks are harder to find than hand sanitizer.
I don’t believe this situation developed because of hoarding. These products were in such limited supply before we all started social distancing. It’s frustrating when authorities tell us to use hand sanitizer and wear masks and gloves when you can’t find the items on the store shelves.
The thing I noticed most about this pandemic is it has forced people to be resourceful and creative. My task for today was to figure out how to make two face masks from stuff I had around the house. I didn’t have a mask pattern and wasn’t about to go out and attempt to find a fabric store open where I could purchase one.
The old bra will work as a mask
What I did have was an old bra. I used the cups combined with some trim to fashion two face coverings. The next hurdle I had to overcome was getting Rooster to agree to wear part of my bra on his face when we go out of the house. To my surprise, he agreed. We all know my husband is a frugal man.
My solution to the face mask issue didn’t cost him a penny. He even agreed to model for a photograph if I promised to stop bugging him about wearing it out of the house when we have to make the eventual dreaded run to the grocery store. Only time will tell if he wears it in public.
Day six of week three of social distancing
Today has been the most difficult day of social distancing we’ve experienced so far. Rooster and I seemed to be at odds with one another since we rolled out of bed this morning. The dreadful mood started when we discovered the lights we’d strung on the porch weren’t working. On further investigation, we found one of the strings of lights must have had a short. It not only blew a breaker, but it melted part of the electrical socket.
The central point of disagreement centered around the need for a new outdoor security light. Rooster was in favor of making a quick run to the hardware store for a new fixture. I thought it could wait until after the pandemic. We live in a small city, which has had a major infestation of violent crime due to drug activity. Rooster won the argument based on the need for security.
Trip to the pharmacy during social distancing week 3
We needed to go to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions before my medication bottle ran dry. We’d combine our errands and be back home in an hour. The blame game also came into play. Rooster pointed out we could have been burnt to a crisp while we slept. I sort of forced the issue of hanging the lights. The guilt for the near-fatal experience hung on my shoulders.
There are certain obligations a person needs to live up to even in the middle of a pandemic. The need to honor these kindnesses is what makes us human. I owed someone a letter. Since we were taking the risk of venturing past our front door, I figured now would be a good time to write that letter.
After we almost burnt down the hose
A problem occurred when I attempted to print out the document. My printer wouldn’t center the text in the middle of the page even though it was in Word. I asked Rooster for help. He and I have a tendency not to troubleshoot computer issues without ending up in a disagreement under the best of circumstances. Thus the second argument of the day was launched.
I decided my best course of action was to go for a walk. The hour and a half I spent navigating the abandoned glass factory parking lot kept us out of divorce court. We ended our disagreement when we had to face going out into the virus-infected world together. Who would have imagined a month ago, a trip to the local hardware store could be a frightening experience.
The unimaginable has become our new reality. It seems everybody in town has taken on a home improvement project when they aren’t hoarding toilet paper. We expected to encounter a few folks picking up emergency supplies, but clashed with a store filled with people buying paint and gardening materials. T
here was a crowd at the post office. I waited outside while Rooster went into the pharmacy. I worried someone would move too close to me to engage me in conversation. We are social creatures, after all. By the time we returned home, we had become a committed team once more—Rooster and me against the world. Two elderly people united in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.
Day seven of week three of social distancing
It’s starting to feel like I’m stuck in the 1993 Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell movie Groundhogs Day. If you will remember, Bill Murray’s character lives the same day over and over again until he finally gets things right. The alarm clock wakes him up every morning with the same song. Different events might occur during the 24 hours, but he always ends up in the same spot. That is what this social distancing experience is starting to feel like for me.
It’s the sensation of being trapped in an experience you want to escape. What I took away from the movie was once Murray stopped fighting the reality of the situation, he started to grow. Living the same day over and over again gave him time to explore parts of himself he never knew existed.
The quarantine routine never varies
The quarantine routine never seems to very. We get up, dress, watch the latest virus news, and eat breakfast. I make the bed before I attempt to type out some words. By the afternoon, I’m ready to take my walk.
Today, I crossed the street into the vacant parking lot, and I walked and walked and walked some more until I had five miles and went nowhere. Even the trash remained the same, with a slight variation. The colts glove is gone. In its place is a Lifesaver Gummie wrapper.
Someone must have come back for the glove and left the rainbow-colored candy wrapper in its place. It’s a fair exchange because the world could use a lifesaver right about now. I put a Zydeco station on my phone. We would have been in the city of New Orleans this week. Our plan this year included extending our travels into Cajun country. It would have been a wonderful adventure.
I’m turning into a grouchy old woman during social distancing week 3
I try not to be one of those old people. You know the type. The grouchy woman who is overly critical of the young, but we live in unstable times. Sometimes an old woman needs to speak her mind. I was almost finished with my walk when I noticed a woman leading a pack of rugrats riding scooters in my direction. My first impression was, “How cute. There’s a mom out with the kids for a little exercise.” My opinion changed when she started ushering the kids into the area where I was walking. I didn’t know if they intended to use the litter pot-hole laden parking lot as a playground, so I decided to cross the street and give them a place to do their thing.
I stopped to allow traffic on the road to pass, and the kids continued to ride in my direction. I’m staying away from my grandchildren. There was no way I wanted to come close to this group of juveniles. I managed to cross the street before they got too close. I waited until they moved out of the parking lot before I crossed the road again to continue my walk.
I figured they were on their way to some mysterious destination. They traveled on the sidewalk until they reached the corner and turned around and started back in my direction. It was apparent these kids and their caregivers weren’t practicing any form of social distancing. It’s all fun and games until someone ends up on a ventilator.
Typhoid Mary and her children
I know these children are out of school, but this lady lost a teachable moment. Lessons like respecting people’s personal space and socially acceptable boundaries were there to be taught. I know she probably wasn’t considering all the aspects of social distancing when she herded the kids in my direction.
People in my city aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously. They think this virus only happens in large cities like New York or Indianapolis. Indiana hasn’t reached its peak yet. I fear we are going to be one of those bedroom community hotspots before this is all over. One thing I know for certain. If Typhoid Mary comes back with the kids, I’m going to have to find a new place to walk.
In conclusion to social distancing week 3
Rooster and I have made it to the end of week three without showing any signs of disease. We hung Christmas lights to show unity and brighten people’s spirits. We had to take them down again because we almost set the house on fire. We took our first motorcycle ride while social distancing.
We manage to navigate the germ-infested hardware store and picked up prescriptions at the pharmacy. We celebrated Rooster’s birthday, and I made masks out of an old bra. We’ve fought and made up. We’ve found creative ways to overcome many issues. Even in the middle of a pandemic, life is still good here in Indiana.
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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