Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Bartering, and boredom

Sunday night I texted my chicken raising friend and asked if I could buy some more eggs from her. I've been baking, and baking uses up a lot of eggs. Later on that night, I posted a picture on Facebook of the two loaves of banana bread that had just come out of the oven:

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The next morning a got a text from the chicken lady asking if I'd be willing to trade a loaf of banana bread for the eggs! That made me laugh, and of course I agreed. She says that she's not much of a cook, and her family loves banana bread. It's quick and easy to make, so I'll be baking more for us over the next couple of days. My husband loves it, too.

I hate to admit this, but the past few days I've been bored. There's plenty of home improvement projects I could be working on, plenty of books to read and tv shows to watch, craft projects I've put off for years, etc. Somehow, for the last two days, I've been incapable of doing much of anything but just sitting around. I'm mildly embarrassed at the number of naps I've been taking; after all, I haven't been doing much of anything to be tired from. We take the dogs on nightly walks but that's about it for physical exercise. I'm tired of doing housework or other useful things. I feel guilty for feeling bored with everything going on in the world and I know that I'm lucky to be safely at home, and not sick, and still able to pay the bills into the bargain. Deep down I'm ashamed at my lack of productivity and this pervasive feeling of ennui.

After I finish the post I'm going to force myself to get a few things done today. The dogs (especially George) need baths. Marco's main cage needs cleaning. The porch needs mopping to get rid of the half inch of pollen coating the floor, and the laundry, which was caught up just the other day, is already piling up again. On a related note, how are two people who aren't even working managing to go through so much laundry? I don't understand it. Anyway, maybe if I give myself a good kick int he pants and go get some stuff done I'll feel better.

How are you coping? How are you feeling? Are you making good use of your time, or are you like me and just drifting along kind of aimlessly through the days? I'd love to know.

Sunday, April 5, 2020


South Carolina is one of a handful of states that is still without a "stay at home" order. Although all non essential businesses have been ordered to close, there are still plenty of stores open that, to my mind, really push the boundaries of "essential". Our beaches and state parks were finally closed last week, and about time, too. Far too many people are still (still!) not taking social distancing seriously enough.

There's a reporter/photographer for our local newspaper who used to be a parent volunteer at the school where I work. Her oldest child is a senior in high school this year. On Friday, the first day of our district's spring break, she published a series of photos in the paper of her son and his baseball teammates cavorting around a swimming pool at one of the boy's homes. She made a throwaway comment at the end about the boys celebrating "while being mindful of social distancing guidelines". I call bullshit. Look at these photos. Do these young men look like they're being mindful of being 6 feet apart at all times to you?

COVID-19 images Friday from Florence

COVID-19 images Friday from Florence

She went on to lament the fact that the boys had planned to spend spring break at the beach, but now they can't because of the Covid-19 restrictions. Some of her fellow parents of seniors (mostly all upper middle class white women) have been on social media whining about their poor little babies who are going to miss prom and graduation this year.


I can't stand the entitlement. It just burns me up. Look, I get it. I know that high school seniors are disappointed to miss out on major milestones, and I would have been disappointed at that age, too. But what about civic responsibility? What about self sacrifice for a greater good? These young people (especially ones like the boys in these photos) have never wanted for a single thing in their whole lives. The mother of one of them actually complained to me last month about how their "last family vacation (to Rome) before her son leaves for college" had been ruined. These kids are steeped in privilege. Their grandfathers and great grandfathers were called to war; these boys are being called to the sofa, and they act as if that's a hardship.

I know I'm not a parent, but if I was, I would try my hardest to impress on my kids that sometimes we must sacrifice our selfish wants for a higher purpose. Life isn't fair, and if the most they're ever called upon to do is miss out on some parties and celebrations, then they will have been among the most blessed people on the face of this earth. That they have a responsibility to their fellow humans, especially those who have less than them. And that it's unseemly in the extreme for newly grown up men and women to whine and complain while some essential workers in their community are risking their lives to mitigate this crisis.


Saturday, April 4, 2020

Saturday pet photos

First of all, my Kitchen Assistant:

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Next, a very happy dog grinning as she "fights" her big dumb brother. She always wins!

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And finally, post fight: "Where's our breakfast?!"

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There's never any lack of entertainment in this house with Marco, Ginger, and George around!

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Passing the days

On Saturday I texted the science teacher from my school who keeps bees and chickens, asking her if any eggs and honey were available. She answered with an emphatic "yes" and told me to meet her at the school, since she was headed out there to plant some stuff in our pollinator garden. I was able to score two containers of honey and two dozen of the prettiest eggs you ever saw:

Look at those colors, like Easter eggs. 

I made a loaf of banana nut bread and chocolate chip pumpkin bread with them. You can see the bananas and walnuts on the edge of the top picture. Marco hung out on my shoulder and helped. He also insisted on having some walnuts before I folded them into the batter:

Do you see his eyes closed in bliss as he munches them? :)

I also made fabulous omelets for dinner the other night. You just can't beat fresh eggs.

So, how are you doing? We seem to be settling down into the new normal for now. Since we're both finally almost over whatever illnesses we've had, we've started working on various projects around the house to keep our minds occupied. I did our taxes the other day which is always a relief. We cleaned the trim on our house, which had algae in some spots. Yesterday we undertook a big project in the front yard. We have a line of crepe myrtle trees beside the house, which had a border all around them of concrete "stones" and weed-smothering black netting put down when the trees were planted. The stones were sinking into the ground, the netting had a thick layer of dirt on top which was growing copious weeds, and overall it wasn't very nice to look at. We decided to remove the stones and stack them in the back yard for future use in flower beds I'm planning, and to remove the netting altogether. We had no idea what a labor intensive project that was going to be! The stones are connected in 3s and they're very heavy, and there's a LOT of them. It took us almost three hours to get them moved, and then getting up the black netting material was difficult because of all the heavy soil and weed roots that had settled on top. But three hours later, we were done and very proud of our efforts! Now we'll be able to mow in between the trees and it should look much neater. And I have lots of border stones for use elsewhere. As we were sitting on the front steps resting from our labors, a pair of bluebirds showed up and started hopping through the fresh soil we had uncovered, looking for bugs. We took that as a good omen.

Keeping busy seems to be the best way for me to cope with this pandemic. Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine is like a tonic after so many anxious hours watching the news or sitting in front of the computer reading the news. And the dogs think everything is just fine and dandy these days! They love our new routine of being home all the time, catering to their every whim. We've been going on plenty of walks around the neighborhood, and of course sitting on the back porch with them in the evenings. If only things weren't so scary out in the wider world, this would be like a treat. We've never had so much time off together to spend at home, and except for being afraid of the virus we're starting to enjoy spending so much time together. I do miss my friends, though. I've tried to text/call/message most of them from time to time just to check in but it's not like seeing them in person, hugging them, and being together. I was chatting with Marla the other day on Facebook manager and she sent me a couple of sweet pictures of little Carsen. I'll finish up this post with them, because they're cheerful. Take care everyone.

Standing up in her "big girl" bed that she's now sleeping in. 

Fingerpainting with her mommy to pass the time.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Just catching up

We're hanging in there here at Casa de Quarantine. How are you managing? Are you stir crazy yet?

I've gone up to my school to answer phones a couple of times. The principal emailed out a schedule for two people per day to answer phones, and said that if we were uncomfortable coming to the school to do it, we could download an app on our phones that would let us do it from home. I chose to go to the school; it's only a mile and a half away, there's only a handful of people up there at any one time (either the principal or the assistant principals, a custodian or two, and the two office staff and/or counselors scheduled for phone duty) and it feels good to leave the house for a few hours.

Gregg is going up to the pet store three days per week, two hours prior to opening, so that he can do water changes on the aquarium system, care for the fish, and make sure all the equipment is functioning properly. One of his tank maintenance jobs is still happening, at the mayor's office, and he goes there on Wednesday nights for two hours. That's it for us as far as work goes. We're adjusting to being at home a lot. I've made a big list of  household projects to complete while we're here, but we haven't started it yet. The main reason is that I've been sick. My bad allergy symptoms have lessened some, but I developed a cough to go along with it and it scares me. It's not a dry cough, at least (which is a symptom of the dreaded virus) but a wet, productive cough. And I still have no fever which is a good sign. I wish I'd start feeling better, though. This whole situation is depressing enough without being sick.

There's not a whole lot to say, so here are a couple of pictures I took last week.

Fresh fruit salad for dessert the other night:

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Ginger sharing my lunch of tuna salad on Saltine crackers:

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Marco enjoying some outside time on the back porch:

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And finally, blooming in my yard:

Take care of yourselves, and we'll talk again soon.

Monday, March 23, 2020


Today is my birthday. As birthdays go, I've had better ones (understatement) but at least I'll never forget the year I turned 45.

I'm not feeling well. Two days ago I woke up with what felt like either bad allergies or the beginning of a cold. I've been sneezing nonstop, my nose is running, I'm getting headaches, my throat is sore first thing in the morning, and I've developed a ticklish cough in my throat. I hope it's allergies; the day before all this started I sat outside most of the day, and the pollen was really bad. I kept getting high pollen alerts on the weather app on my phone that day, so maybe that's the problem. I can't help but be paranoid about coronavirus. At least I'm not running a fever, so that's a positive sign.

Yes, I've had better birthdays. Today has been gray, chilly, and dull. I feel wiped out and tired although I haven't done much of anything. I just took a couple of Benadryl so I'll probably be headed to bed soon.

I hope you're all in hanging in there during this worldwide crisis. Stay safe, be well, and we'll talk soon, okay?

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

And it's just day #1

Staying home and practicing social distancing is going to get old, fast. This is just the first day, and I can already see how it's going to be. My husband is STRESSED OUT. He woke up with nausea this morning, something he's still dealing with as one of the aftereffects of the flu, and that set the stage for a bad day. He's not good at sitting at home and not going to work. Normally he works 6 or (more often) 7 days a week, and to suddenly have that routine upended and nothing to do is making him antsy and short-tempered. He actually had one aquarium job to go to late this afternoon, the two tanks at the mayor's office, which is still open and not really a high-risk place for him to be. He goes there at 5pm and usually it takes about 2 hours. After that, he's got the rest of the week and nothing to fill the time. I can already see that I'm going to have to convince him to turn off the damn TV. It's been 24/7 news coverage of the coronavirus droning on and on in the background and I can't take much more of that! Checking the news once a day will be enough, I think.

We did finally go outside and take the dogs for a walk early this afternoon. That seemed to calm some of his irritability down a bit and made us both feel better. It's a gorgeous spring day outside, with trees and shrubs blooming, green leaves budding, birds singing, and a blue sky. Warm, too.  You'd never know there was a pandemic going on. Several of our neighbors were outside, too, mostly doing yardwork. One boy who's a student at my school was out riding his bike. That was nice to see. From what I understand, if the kids are diligent and log onto Google Classroom early in the morning and work steadily, they can be done with all their assignments in a couple of hours and have the rest of the day free. Oh, to be young and out of school in the springtime, with no real worries about health or paying the bills or holding on to jobs! I would have seen this as a great adventure and a good time when I was 12 or 13 years old! 

How's your week going so far?

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Hello from the lockdown

Things have escalated rapidly in this whole coronavirus pandemic. Our school district, under the direction of our new progressive Superintendent, has been quietly preparing for emergency "e-learning" for a while now. Of course, they thought they were preparing for weather emergencies like hurricanes or snow days, not this. Every student has a district-issued laptop where teachers can post lesson plans and video lessons from home and students can log onto the Google Classroom app and do their work. They even did a few class periods online last semester as practice. Last week the Superintendent sent out directions for teachers to begin making virtual lesson plans "just in case" school closures were on the horizon. So when the governor announced on Sunday night that all South Carolina schools were canceled, our whole district was ready to go. It's been astonishingly easy for our students to make the transition and despite only being 2 days in, there were very, very few parent phone calls. The teachers are reporting a great first two days. Our administers, guidance counselors, office staff, cafeteria workers, and school nurses had to report to work yesterday and today while last minute kinks got worked out, but now we're done, too. No one has any idea when we might be able to go back. I actually got teary-eyed when I got the text a few minutes ago that we're not to report to work anymore until further notice. It drove home how real this all is.

Today was also Gregg's last regular day at the pet store for the foreseeable future. He plans to go up there every other day an hour or two before opening to maintain the aquarium systems and care for the animals, but that's it. No more contact with the public. Almost all of his side jobs maintaining aquariums are gone, too. At best, he's looking at earning only about 15% of his normal salary for the duration of this thing. I don't care....I'm glad we're both off work to ride this thing out at home, money be damned. Hopefully our small savings will carry us through until things go back to normal. Gregg can't afford to take chances with his reduced lung function and other risk factors.

I won't lie to you. I'm scared. I've never seen anything like this, and I just hope it's not too late to get it under control. Lots of people are disappointed for various reasons: vacations canceled, weddings and parties put on hold or scaled down, even some of my coworkers who are afraid their high school senior kids won't be able to take part in a graduation ceremony or senior prom. My birthday is next week; I don't expect to have any kind of celebration whatsoever. But as long as we can manage to not get sick, that's the best anybody can hope for right now.

I imagine I'll be blogging much more frequently now that I'm hunkered down at home for the next few weeks. How are you doing with all this? What do you do to cope? I made a run to the ABC store the other day and stocked up on gin, vodka, and whiskey. I imagine a drink or two is going to be sorely needed in the next few weeks!