COVID-19: Day 44: Getting a groove on.

I’m settling into this.

I haven’t had much to talk about. I work. I  clean. I eat. I nap.  I sleep.  Day in and day out.

Yesterday, a friend approached me with a writing project.  Woo Hoo!  I need assignments to write and this one even came with a writing prompt.

“and she spilled it before he could tell her no”  — prompt from Bobby Lee Messer

I had to turn that into a 90-second spoken word story.  I did.  It takes a long while to write 250 cohesive and coherent words.  I figure I’ve got 5 hours and change into the latest draft.  Shorter is harder.

Tonight, I’m kinda embarrassed to say, I broke quarantine and had my mom in for dinner.  I cooked tacos.  By the time I carried them down the hill they were going to be cold.  We can’t be having cold (and wet, it’s raining) tacos.  So, we sat almost six feet apart and had dinner together.  You may recall that tacos My Way are my favorite meal.

It was nice to have an in-person conversation.  I did, however, unceremoniously throw her out once we were both eating. It’s one thing to bend rules.  It’s another to shatter them.

 

COVID-19: Day 4

Today, I scored toilet paper and West Virginia finally confirmed its first case of COVID-19.

Yes, I ventured out to the Kroger again.  I needed some things and rumor had it that the store had been restocked.  Besides TP, there was an urgent need for critter food, bleach, and cherry pie.  Plus a $100 worth of other stuff.  My larder is stocked.  All I’m missing now is hamburger which I may or may not pursue.

I worked from home today.  It was a weird workday.  I started at roughly 7 a.m. instead of my usual 9:30 a.m.  I roared through email (there isn’t much at 7 a.m., but more than you would think) and then did the dishes so as to clear the kitchen table.  I moved the laptop to the table and spread out my work materials.  It was time to descend into the bowels of my organization’s webpage.  I always get a bit nervous when tweaking the webpage.  It’s a wonderful webpage, professionally designed, and it’s beyond my skill level to maintain.  Every change provokes prayer.

At 11 or so, I started ruffling around for something to eat.   The first snack of many.  I called my boss to see if she missed me.  (She didn’t.)  I spoke with a co-worker.  Called my mother.  Worked on some photo editing.  Rinse and repeat.  That was my day prior to the Kroger.

I ventured out at 4 pm.  I was surprised, but not really, by the number of people out and about.  The Kroger looked like a war zone.  I noticed the absence of background music.  There is no soundtrack to the apocalypse.

Post-Kroger, I have a kitchen full of work materials and groceries.  I have too much food for my available storage.  I generally do my shopping for at most a week ahead of time and usually not even that.  Then there’s the fact that I have enough for three meals a day instead of the usual one and a half.  There’s food everywhere.  Three (3!) pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream almost didn’t fit into the freezer.

I need to find a rhythm to this new life.  Right now, I still feel as if I’m waiting for the shoe to drop.  I thought that feeling would occur when they finally diagnosed a case here.  But, well, nope.  There’s still free-floating anxiety.  Oh, and cherry pie.

The Winter of My Content

march snow 034The past four days have been an adventure.  Between Wednesday night and Thursday, I found 10 inches of snow outside The Barn.  With great glee, I celebrated the announcement that a certain community college was closed both Thursday and Friday.  At my place of employment, this means we are also closed and I don’t have to burn vacation days due to heavy snow.  It doesn’t take a lot of snow to trap me on the hill and nearly a foot was way overkill.

We had eight inches of snow over the President’s Day weekend.  I ended up with a full week off of work.  It was a lovely respite, but I did nothing but sleep, eat, read and watch Downton Abbey.

I had big plans for these four days off, but as John Lennon said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans.”  I seem to be in major nesting mode – I want The Barn to look as wonderful as I think it is, so a thorough cleaning was in order.  I also was looking forward to cooking.  After not cooking for most of the past ten years, I’m suddenly interested in it again.

march snow 003Day 1 of my four-day weekend, Thursday, I did some triage cleaning (Chez Barn was/is a Superfund Site) and finally finished putting all the Christmas stuff away.  Yes, yes.  I know, March, but, hell, it was July one year. I’m ahead of schedule!  It was so nice having my living room back that I wallowed in that room and admired the gorgeous snow and sunshine out my window.  It was very Dr. Zhivago-ish.  I also made the starter dough for a new sticky bun recipe.  I’m on a quest for the perfect sticky bun.  The potato soup I made for dinner was spectacular!  I could win a soup contest, my potato soup is just that good.

Friday morning, I woke up with a head of steam to clean and bake.  I turned the starter dough into finished dough and had it set to rise when the power went out at 9 a.m.  I trundled my butt-that-doesn’t-need-even-a-single-sticky-bun-much-less-a-dozen down to my folks’ house to see if they had power.

march snow 057They didn’t.  But they had a fireplace and the hearth proved a perfect spot to make old-fashioned percolator coffee.  After visiting with them for awhile, I took the big camera out for a photo shoot of Ma Nature’s glorious handiwork.  I tromped around Onafork and took some stellar photos, some mediocre, and some just bad.  (See the gallery below.)

When I returned, I called Appalachian Power and reported the outage.  I was told it would be repaired at 10 p.m. Sunday.  SUNDAY!  I was miffed.  One cannot clean and bake in a cold, dark house with no electricity.  I mean, really, it already looks like I clean in the dark.

potato soupBy the afternoon, The Barn was getting cold – 55F, to be exact.  I trundled back down to my folks’ after defrosting the windows of my car and cleaning off the snow.  I wanted to be ready in the event of an emergency.

We all sat around drinking coffee, laughing about how we were out of wood and having to burn old software manuals, and eating the leftover potato soup I made on Thursday.

Software manuals put out a great deal of heat.  We were comfortable and told stories.  Eventually, I went back home to sleep.  I have a heavy down comforter on my bed as well as a heavy bedspread.  I was confident I would be warm enough.  And I was.

march snow 006Saturday, I went back down to the parents’ house, because the only way to be comfortable in my then 42F house was to be in the bed.  One can only stay in bed alone for so long.  Plans were made for them to go to a hotel.  I decided to stay here and tend to critters.  By that time, we were down to broken furniture to burn in the fireplace.  A cheesy “wood” chair made in Yugoslavia doesn’t burn nearly as well as do software manuals.  Surprise, surprise.

Nonetheless, I was all zen and accepting of life’s curve ball when I discovered I had left my car running, ran the battery down and my phone was down to 10% power.  The only way I had to charge the phone was the car charger and that wasn’t going to work with a dead battery.  I lamented on Facebook and my friend/contractor sent his son over to jump my car.

I have been so blessed with the people in my life.  My boss texted me often to see if there was anything she could do to help.  Other friends called.  My Facebook world fretted about my well-being.  I don’t know what I ever did to deserve the friendships I have, but I’m very grateful.

at my parentsSaturday evening was spent in a haze of wine and contentment.  It would have been nice to have had some music, but, alas, I was short of that perfection.  I left my folks’ house at about 11 p.m. and returned to my toasty bed.  If nothing else, I did get a lot of sleep.  I drifted off convinced that the power company was lying to me and I would wake to power on Sunday morning.

Well.  I woke up this morning and I still didn’t have power.  Zounds!

Back like a boomerang, I went to my parents’ house yet again.  The fire had gone out and I couldn’t get that Yugoslavian chair to light to save my life.  Besides the cold factor, the more important problem was that I couldn’t make coffee.  I have a serious coffee addiction.  It was a dire situation.  After about an hour, in walked my parents with coffee and sausage biscuits.  Again, I was suffused with gratitude.

And then the power came back on, well before 10 p.m.  There was great celebration and I returned home to bake and clean and blog and upload photos and do laundry and put emergency light sources away…and…and…

It’s been a wonderful day.   The sticky buns turned out a tad gummy, but recipe tweaking should take care of that.  The house is still a mess and laundry isn’t even half done, but I am happy and content. These days  it’s good to be me – the winter of my content.  Contentment may well be the best state of being.  I know I’m certainly enjoying it.

 

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