Pandemic In The Summer

This summer is weird, isn’t it? We normally see friends and family, go to the beach (most years), eat out at favorite restaurants, have drinks and fun with friends, have treats, attend church services, visit special friends, and are active along with our down time.

This year being part of a pandemic, things are different.  We now wear masks when we go out, on the few occasions that happens. We are only getting food at the grocery store, as take-out or through the drive-thru and making quick trips to the drug store. We aren’t going to church but instead are watching services online. Also, we aren’t seeing very many people.

Life is not totally awful since we are homebodies and always have plenty to keep us busy. Still, the length of time where life has been so different does take its toll. So, we keep in touch with Zoom calls and meetings, textings, phone calls, dinners at home, and seeing neighbors while outside on walks.

We are not going out and doing as much as some of our loved ones and that is by choice. I am trying to keep us healthy and listening to the doctors and medical professionals. We are doing about the same as many of our loved ones. That is good since we are in this together but usually apart.

We are visiting family in North Carolina this summer but have mainly been at the house keeping busy with work. We always visit a few friends but that is not happening this year since they are in the high-risk groups. That is a bummer but we totally understand.

We like shopping at a favorite toy store each year. This time was different since they are booking appointments to have one family shop at a time. Also, masks are required for the entire time in the store. My thanks to them for that option in which I felt safe while shopping. A rare feeling these days.

I have friends and family who are going out and doing a lot more that we are. That is okay for them if they feel comfortable doing so. I, however, do not. At least not yet. As a single parent, I am doing all I can to keep myself and my son healthy. And, I have a few risk factors to keep in mind.

There is so much stress and awfulness happening right now. It is often hard to deal with. I am praying, trying to meditate to calm my mind, exercising, listening to music, reading my Bible and devotionals, trying to get enough sleep, talking with loved ones, and trying to eat well.

Still the doubts, worries, and concerns are there. We all have to do the best we can right now. I just hope and pray that we can help one another and support each other, rather than bringing harm to our loved ones.

With all of the uncertainties in the world, I am thankful for a few things:

  • Remotely watching my nephew’s high school graduation and seeing him receive his diploma. We were there in spirit!!
  • Watching my son build new Lego sets
  • Enjoying my son having time with his grandparents
  • Savoring a favorite meal that we have picked up or prepared
  • Shopping at the grocery store and choosing a delicious tomato
  • Having the option to order food online and then pick it up or have it delivered
  • Finding books at a used bookstore
  • Walks, bike/trike rides, and fresh air
  • Eating an almond strudel from a favorite bakery with a glass of cold milk
  • The anticipation of seeing Hamilton: The Musical online in the next week
  • Dinners with my parents and time to chat with them
  • Seeing loved ones and chatting with them online
  • Laughing with my siblings, cousins, aunt, nieces and nephews, and others during online chats
  • Working at home on a flexible schedule – a real blessing
  • Getting to know our neighbors and their new dog while social distancing outside
  • Listening to my son’s first D&D game online with family – he had a great time
  • Sitting on our front porch in the evening and chatting
  • Laughing with my son during an episode of Psych
  • Chatting for a long time with my son on many topics
  • Hearing about what our loved ones are doing
  • Having time to read a great book or watch a movie

I hope and pray that things will improve soon and the numbers of illness will go down.  I pray that people will be kind to one another and stop judging the wearing of a mask or not. It is not political, but a health care choice that each of us have to make.  At least it shouldn’t be political.

I pray that my loved ones continue to stay healthy. I really want to see them again and give them a hug. Again, not sure when that will be but I am hopeful. I pray that there can be real healing with all of us no matter our race, religion, education, profession, family situation or who we love. I hope and pray that the violence and racism will stop.

I pray that we have peace, respect for one another, and treat each other with kindness.  I pray that we learn from one another and listen to each other. I pray that our differences stop being hindrances and stop causing problems. I pray that we take care of one another and build one another up.  I pray that we always, always love.

Grocery Shopping in the Pandemic Era

Hi and Happy Sunday!  At least I hope it is a good one. This morning, I went to the grocery store.   It was Aldi and it went better than I had expected.  Before going, I didn’t know what to expect in this era of the worldwide pandemic and everyone trying to avoid one another. I told the employees thank you for being there and working so we have the food and items that we need.

I found most of what I wanted and that was a great thing.  However, many shelves were empty of Kleenex, wipes, and cleaners.  They had some but not a lot of toilet paper.  Canned vegetables and bottles of water had limits on how many you could buy — four for the veggies and two sets of 24 bottles for the water.  And bread and some other items were limited.

The store wasn’t crowded and I have to say that was a relief.  I had a hard time deciding to shop and where to shop but ultimately decided to go to this our normal store.  People stayed a good distance from one another and were polite.  I wore my regular winter gloves while I was there. Not sure if they did anything, but it helped not directly touching things.

In addition to food, I found some work gloves that include latex.  I haven’t been able to find the other kind of gloves and wanted to have something.  My city may be shutting down soon so I wanted to be sure that I have what we will need for a while longer.  (Images are from Power Point clip art.)

My shopping took about as long as it took me to clean everything when I got back home.  Before taking stuff out of the trunk of my car, I wiped all items that I had purchased with disinfecting wipes, including the shopping bags, which were recyclable. I left my shoes in the garage that I wore to the store, wiped several parts of the car, and then went inside, and put the gloves in the washing machine.

I then washed my hands and went back outside.  I then brought the food, drinks, and waters inside, washed my hands again, and put them away.  Right after that I took a hot shower.  When finished and dressed, I put all of the clothes in the washing machine on hot.  And washed my hands again.

It was a tough decision this morning to go to the store, but I knew I needed to now before things get worse and I don’t want to leave the house.  In addition, I have ordered a few items that we need for home projects, a DVD of a favorite show that Kirk and I enjoyed, and some items for our growing boy.

Those will be delivered soon and will also be wiped down. Boxes will be left outside and we will be washing hands after touching them as we do with everything that is coming in to the house.  We are wiping down surfaces and doing our best to have a clean house.  I just hope it’s enough.

You see, I have mild asthma and a lot of allergies.  I have had my share of upper respiratory infections and bronchitis over the years.  For months, my son and I have been using OTC allergy medications which help us stay healthy during the high pollen season and cold and flu season. Also, I have an inhaler that I use as needed and nose spray.  I hope and pray that these habits will help us through this.

So much is unknown and being speculated about. We are listening to the numbers, paying attention to the scientists, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals. We are also listening to the White House Task Force, Governors, and other elected officials. We are taking it all seriously.  Still, I cannot watch too much or I get overwhelmed with worry and fear.

We normally eat take out and food from drive-thrus and enjoy going to restaurants.  We aren’t doing that now and probably won’t for quite a while. More than a week ago, we got takeout from a restaurant run by family friends. This is one of the few places that I feel comfortable doing that but, that too is on hold for now.

It is amazing the number of people all over the world who are staying at home to try and stop the spread — or at least slow it down until more can be learned about it and until the hospitals can catch up and have all of the supplies that they need.  I am glad to see that we are, for the most part, in this together.

Also amazing are all of the brave and wonderful people who are working outside of their homes so that life can continue on in some form or another.

Here a few of the people who I want to say thanks to (I hope I included everyone) —

  • Nurses, doctors, researchers, EMTs, paramedics, the national guard, our military and civilian forces, first responders, firefighters, X-ray technicians, police officers, janitors, volunteers, bank tellers, journalists, reporters,
  • School superintendents and school boards, principals, teachers, assistants, pastors, counselors, truck drivers, mechanics, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, cooks, servers, clerks at stores, those in transportation and travel,
  • Retail store employees, those who stock the shelves, librarians, civic leaders, plant workers, farmers, mail carriers, utility workers, those advising on how to use technology to communicate with each other,
  • Drivers delivering food and needed supplies, small business owners, financial advisers, accountants, parents, children, families, friends, and our government leaders who are trying to do the best for us.