Pandemic Diaries: Social Distancing Week One

We were supposed to be in Napa, then San Francisco. We would have been in the airport right now and then boarding a steel tube likely filled with COVID-19, having passed through two of the busiest airports in the country, also probably simmering in virus.

Fortunately we paid attention to the first stories and followed with increasing alarm as they worsened while our leadership insisted everything was fine. It didn’t look fine, reading the credible press. Paul and I have histories long enough to tell us, things are demonstrably not fine. I began picking up a few extra things at the grocery store when I went. Not panicking, just building Plan B. I’m a Plan B, C, D, etc., sort of girl.

But we really wanted to go on that trip.

We waited until the week prior, then decided at our ages it just wasn’t worth it, and as this week has passed and everything is shutting down, we feel a bullet dodged. We left our deposit with the bed & breakfast in Napa, and will try again in Fall.

It’s not like the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex is absent amusement. Fort Worth has the Kimbell, Amon Carter, and the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, all favorites of ours but all now closed. It’s the same on the Dallas side, the wonderful Dallas Museum of Art and the Nasher both closed. Movie theaters, all closed. Bit by bit over this last week, most of our usual amusements were closed down.

So, we will have to define a new normal and keep our abundant blessings in mind: last year, Paul was working out of state and that would have been a nightmare, and now it’s not; he is equipped to work from home and has been ordered to do so; we are middle-class Americans who could probably eat out of the pantry for a month without ever going to the store. We have an extremely large TV and all those books we keep meaning to read. We can do this!

A curious neighbor watches us walk by.

Blanca is in heaven with her two humans here to adore her, throw balls, and take her Walkies. Ivan the (recently) Terrible has expressed no opinion about this sudden increase in weekday Staff, but has met the surplus with increased demands for treats, as one might expect from a tyrant. We fill the bird-feeders and laugh over the nervous male Cardinal (PEEP PEEP PEEP PEEP PEEP PEEP like his mate isn’t right there beside him feasting, I continue to be amazed she doesn’t tell him to shut up for just a minute so she can think), try and fail to get a good photo of the Blue Jay who opens sunflower seed by smashing them against the fence. I thought for a few days he was experiencing a crisis of identity, and was becoming a Woodpecker, but no, just doesn’t like the shells.

Blanca is sure there is a friend waiting to be met on the other side.

Sunday we read the Bible lessons in turn together; this week we have multiple online services to choose from. All our favorite priests are figuring out this live-streaming business!

Monday I posted a picture on the NextDoor app of several old jigsaw puzzles (yes, all pieces are there!), Free to Good Homes, and Tuesday and Wednesday we delivered bags of puzzles to neighbors on our daily walks with Blanca. Next, I’ll round up and list all our old paperbacks for anyone who needs them.

For us, so far, it hasn’t been bad or even hard, this Social Distancing. We went to the grocery store once, early. We were able to buy one package of precious toilet paper, which we didn’t really need, but I figured I’d know someone who did. We wash our hands thoroughly every time we touch anything Not Of The House.

One of my puzzle people neighbors asked me, “Is there anything you need that I might have?” which made my heart happy. This is the Spirit which will pull us through.

We found Mitch McConnell!

Like many, I cannot believe how often I touch my face like, all the time. Always a hand-washer, I’m totally singing Happy Birthday twice through while washing my hands. I’m probably going to be completely sick of my own cooking in about three days.

I am keenly aware of how fortunate I am, and I’m praying we all make it through this.

How goes it for you?

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