I began writing this post a few months ago… but left it in my draft files as I hadn’t had the energy or desire to write after finishing my 2020: April A to Z blog posts. This is a compilation of the before and after (somewhat) of the Covid pandemic as how it’ affected me! Will it ever end?
2020: Quarantine COVID-19 Lockdown
On March 15th, I wrote daily for 15 days… writing daily counts of Covid 19 confirmed virus cases and deaths in the U.S. and the world. By the end of March we all hoped that April 1st would bring us out of Quarantine… but that didn’t happen. The April Fools joke, April 1, 2020, was on America… as we quickly learned what we really knew in our hearts… we were to continue being in quarantine! As I’m retired, this social distancing hadn’t really bothered me as I had become accustomed to staying home over the past winter… especially after returning from a road trip to Georgia in February… I was tired of traveling!
Suddenly new names was constantly heard all over television in regarding this virus… Self-quarantine, social distancing, Covid-19, Corona-virus, Wuhan, China, wear a mask… don’t wear a mask, and stand 6 feet apart. Masks quickly became my newest sewing item… and as I had a stash of elastic, fabric and interfacing… I soon began sewing… luckily I had supplies to begin with, because soon places quickly listed needed items as… “out of stock.”
Being a crafter, I’ve always kept more supplies on hand than needed… mostly for girls as I had sewed all the granddaughters flannel burp cloths, swaddling blankets, comforters… and I even sewed crib sheets for the special baby crib I used when my children were babies. I save way too many items… but I was happy that I saved that small crib. Sewing masks soon became my “superpower.”
I quickly began sewing masks for my kids and granddaughters… the girls were easy as I had girl fabric… the guys were limited in what I had on hand, but I managed to find something not too girly for them! Packages of masks were soon headed to Florida!
March 13th was pretty much the last day of school for my granddaughters… but we had hoped they’d be back by Easter… but, Easter came and went… with most families eating Easter dinner alone… as we did; no Easter church service for most, no Easter egg hunts…. and social distancing from everyone not living in your home; they were making you very afraid.
Masks sent to granddaughters in Florida
I ordered takeout for our Easter dinner this year… that’s never happened before! We ate alone… and missed the girls Easter egg hunt. Last year we were in sunny Florida at my sons house… If we’d only known how our world and life would change in a year!!! Well, I guess I would have bought all the coveted items and stocked up instead of having to go on scavenger hunts to find everyday items that had always been on the shelf!
Non-essential work was closed… no bars, restaurants, beauty salons, barbershops, all stores except where groceries were sold. We were told to stay home to kill the virus… only allowed to go out for essential items… such as food or to the pharmacy. They stressed that seniors were the most vulnerable… and to stay home! Restaurants were closed except for takeout… but we were encouraged to support our restaurants to keep them in business. What happened to the waiters and waitresses… unless that restaurant is doing a lot of takeout, they quickly became unemployed! No more enjoying a coffee at Dunkin Donuts with friends….I quickly panicked and stocked up on my hazelnut coffee… and cream. I need my coffee everyday… that’s my fix and security blanket! The media was making everyone panic about food items… some stores even imposed limits on what you could buy… when you could even find it.
In as I usually have always trimmed my own hair, I never panicked about not being able to go to the salon… I’ve never been one to enjoy spending time in a salon chair or have my nails done… I know, I’m an odd duck! My husband soon learned how to even cut his hair with the trimmer he already had and had never used… I sent our extra one to my son in Florida… as they were sold out everywhere. He’s now begun cutting his hair and has already said he’ll continue to do so… saves money and time!
The hoarding made everyone panic… toilet paper suddenly became the “new” hot commodity that everyone coveted. While we already had a supply… knowing that it couldn’t and might not be found… kept me looking for it… and excited when we finally found it at Costco. For the future, I’ll now keep a “pandemic” supply of things like Lysol spray, hand sanitizer, and most definitely toilet paper!
Who knew, there would ever be a time, in my lifetime, where you couldn’t find simple items like toilet paper, peroxide, alcohol, hand sanitizer, and my granddaughters favorite… “chicken nuggets”… they just weren’t found anywhere!
As of May 30th both our two casinos even closed in Connecticut… who would have ever imagined that a casino would close… even though our Governor had mandated the closing of recreational activities… Indian lands don’t usually fall under their orders. While it never bothered me, as we never go… many were having withdrawals from not being able to go gamble! We went once to the casino… I bought a purse with most of the money I took, as I was determined that I wasn’t going home empty handed! We didn’t even stay long… we just aren’t’ gamblers!
Shopping became a travesty… with several aisles being totally empty… and bare shelves scattered throughout the store; even today, I still don’t find completely filled shelves. Toilet paper became the most wanted item… and not a square was to be had! You shopped now with “NO” list in hand… you shopped and bought as to what you actually found on the shelf. My highly coveted item was always “light cream” for my coffee… and when I found it, I often emptied the shelf… as who wanted to go to the grocery store again!
We soon turned our second refrigerator on… it became our holding center for my coveted light cream… and the freezer quickly became full… and I still didn’t know what I wanted to eat! (As of July, we’ve finally eaten our way out of using the second full-size fridge, especially after my last electric bill… it’s older and uses way more money then it’s worth!
So what bothered me the most in all this quarantine at home? In as I had recently began sewing masks, I couldn’t just walk into a fabric store and pick up what I needed… now I had to scan websites, becoming frustrated… as to what I wanted was always out of stock! Luckily I had lots of fabric, but I quickly ran out of elastics and interfacing. Any craft project I wanted to start, suddenly became frustrating… as I had to order online and wait… never having to do that before. It was the same with my knitting… I did have quite a stash of yarn… but, a new project always calls for specific colors or sizes needed… that you don’t have in your stash. Now I had to order online, and again… Wait! We are such an “immediate” need society… no one likes to wait anymore… especially me!
McKinley excited to show off a gift sent from Aunt Kathy… my heart raced! I did ask if I could borrow it sometime! I may just have to try making one of these… I’m sure I can!
The granddaughter’s had to suddenly acclimate to “no school” for the rest of the school year… and even as they’ve adjusted pretty well… I see how it’s hard for them to concentrate at home. Home before, or at least my house, had previously been all about crafts and tv time… and I did find it hard in pushing them to concentrate now on computer work and lessons. I’m more the craft teacher! The most popular craft item recently had become the cardboard loom I made for the girls… although it was mostly McKinley (age 7) who became fascinated with it… Gracie would rather string beads or pull out the potholder loom. McKinley is just like me… she’s happy with paper, scissors and yarn! Now if only I can encourage her to begin reading Nancy Drew… although today she found a heart in my button box and wanted it to wear as her Nancy Drew heart necklace… hey, that’s a start! We had just watched the new Nancy Drew Hidden Staircase movie this week… and it seems she paid attention that Nancy wore a heart necklace… well at least she has the “sleuth” trait!
McKinley’s “Nancy Drew” heart necklace!
My “Nancy Drew” mask I made for me!
Two of my masked bandits!
We have survived into July (2020), but life has changed!
It’s now July 19th, as of this writing… and we’re still wearing a mask (mandated) in all stores. It drives me crazy though when I see people driving in their car, alone, and wearing a mask! I only wear one going inside a business, never in the car. I could go on and on about how I feel about this pandemic, and the masks… so many mixed feelings!
My grandchildren never returned to school after their last days in March… and as of this writing, the granddaughters in Florida will be remaining at home and attending classes online in the fall. My daughter in law did a great job in home schooling the three of them through the end of this past school year… but it was exhausting. I think it will be somewhat different when they return via online as their teachers will appear on-screen daily in teaching… and the girls will be sitting in front of their laptops. As I don’t recall many memories of being in early grades… what will they remember of the years of going to school… from home!
As we began opening in Phase 1 in CT… businesses were busy installing plexiglass between food booths and windows at bank counters. People are pretty much mandated to stand 6 feet apart… and grocery stores measured off 6-foot lines at the checkout for you to stand on. Then came the arrows in the grocery aisles… making aisles one-way. The few times I went inside… I mostly paid no attention as I was too busy looking up at the aisle signs for what I was searching for. No one ever said anything to me… good thing they didn’t, as I probably would have answered them! Everyone was on edge… no one wanted to be in the store… especially having to wear a mask!
Between my knee bothering me more and not liking to wear a mask… I soon began ordering the majority of my groceries online and picking them up. For the most part, I have continued to do so, as I really don’t like spending time wandering around a store. We go inside very seldom, and it’s only then for a quick pickup. I’m somewhat spoiled in my shopping now… it’s almost all online and delivered to my door. I’ve lost my patience of going in stores now… especially the part of “not” finding what I’m looking for… or having to wait in line. The one store I miss actually shopping in… is the craft stores… especially when I want to buy fabric. Buying fabric is a process… as I like to touch and crinkle it… to see how wrinkly it becomes. I had plenty of fabric on-hand for mask making but I did buy online a yard of an Air Force fabric to make hubby a mask. Even though I can pretty much buy any craft supplies online… sometimes you can’t find because you don’t know the specific name for a search. I’ve probably saved a few bucks staying out of the stores though… no impulse buying!
Even though I had three freezers full of food… we often picked up take-out several times as I didn’t want to cook… but I had food! Most of our favorite take-out places have remained open so we frequented them in support; many business will never return. Slowly almost all the restaurants have now opened back… first with outside seating and now with limited inside eating. The first restaurants we ate inside was when we went to Georgia in early June… all the booths were outfitted with plexiglass between the booths. I felt like I was dining in a bubble… isolated from everyone. I feel sorry for whomever has to clean those plexiglass dividers as they will be inundated with handprints once families return. You must wear a mask to your table and all the servers were masks… when will this madness end? All this mask wearing isn’t good for our children… heck it isn’t good for us either… I feel smothered!
What would our grandparents think about wearing masks? This was not the first pandemic in our country where masks were worn… in 1918/19, the Influenza Spanish Flu became an epidemic! My grandparents lived through that in their early twenties… but I never heard them talk about it. Maybe it wasn’t as prominent in certain parts of the country… and living on farms they pretty much kept to themselves for the most part. How I wish I could ask them now, but that window has closed. My mother has never mentioned her parents talking about anything other than people having Tuberculosis and having to live away from family.
Up until recently, there has been no baseball, football, basketball or Nascar. Just recently Nascar began running races, first without fans, but now a limited amount of fans are being allowed in. Basketball or Football still haven’t began… too close contact. Baseball has slowly started just this week, but with no fans in the stadium seats… but I have seen cardboard cut-out people sitting in some of the seats… Really! Fans have said that they miss the cheering when bases are made or home-runs hit… guess they could use what’s called “canned applause”. As far as football, I could care less if it returns at all… especially after this “take a knee” controversy… and know there’s talk of eliminating our National Anthem… what’s wrong with people?
The ones who will remember 2020 the strongest… are the kids who missed their graduations… their proms… their weddings and funerals. So many of them had to be shelved permanently… never to have! No one goes on vacation… especially when so many states mandate you quarantine for 14 days upon entering their state! Even Disney closed their doors… whoever would have thought! They just reopened slowly this past month, with mandated mask wearing, not all rides are open and on open rides you are distanced from others… and no showing up at the gate… you must sign up on-line for a pass.
My granddaughters have missed out so much in their young life… their libraries closed and are still closed… no museums or zoos… no movies; all new movies are now bought and streamed on-line at home… recreation activities have changed… dancing classes ended, with no end of the year dance recitals… dance lessons went on-line via “zoom”… swimming lessons ended… and as of now, still haven’t returned… can’t swim with a mask on! The new meet-ups went by way of online and “zoom” app… where teachers interacted with their students… it was so strange to see the girls talk to their teacher and friends on-line only. The girls wanted to go the park, play soccer, visit with friends, go swimming, go to camp… just go to a store without having to wear a mask… just be normal again! I do worry… will life ever be normal!
My grandchildren need to get back to normalcy again… they need to go back to real school, have play dates, go to the park, the libraries, dance classes, swimming lessons, spend less time on a laptop… just back to life as they once knew it… I hope they haven’t forgotten that “Yes” they once had a real life!
The children today will be the ones to tell their children and grandchildren about the great American Pandemic of 2020! Will they remember?
© 2020, copyright Jeanne Bryan Insalaco; all rights reserved