Monday, April 6, 2020

The Things That Make Me Happy

All the items on my grocery list were available. 

I didn't know that would be the case; I ordered chicken in all its variations, hoping that one or two would end up in my trunk.  My freezer is now filled with filets and cutlets made from the many packages Safeway provided. 

I drove 19 miles to pick them up, with the mask Sister made for me firmly in place when I lowered the window to accept the receipt, and 19 miles back from the only store that had a pick up date within a week of the order I placed. 

TBG and I spent a long time disinfecting and re-wrapping and wiping and washing with soap before we stored our treasures.  I had a giddy smile plastered on my face throughout the entire operation.

We have a decontamination station in the garage, which holds the clothes we wear when we venture further than the mailbox.  We've devised an I'm Clean/You're Dirty system to handle opening packages and wiping down the contents.  Cooking requires mental preparation.  All of this makes me very happy .

I know how lucky I am.  As I type this, everyone I love is safe and healthy and relatively sane.  That also makes me happy.  That's a foundational happiness, upon which everything else is built. But around the edges, on the surface, where I live every day and bump into the world, having groceries in the house makes me very very happy.

Friday, April 3, 2020

School's Closed

Governor Ducey thinks that gun shops are essential businesses and shouldn't close.  The absurdity of arming people who are forced to stay inside with those who probably annoy them the most is beyond my comprehension, but we chose to move to the wild west, and we have to shut our mouths and move on until Giffords or Everytown  gives me a plan to effect change.  On my own, I have nothing to do but write to him and express my outrage (which I did).

Personal Care Services are also deemed essential - that means that I can get a manicure or a haircut if I choose to put myself in the chair.  My nail salon has closed for the duration (they are mothers of young children and Family First is their mantra).  TBG has agreed to cut my hair (he's really good at it) and since I've never applied color to my tresses I am among the lucky few who aren't worried about exposing their roots (according to Sister, the line in the post office in New Jersey had social distancing markers on the floor which were occupied by women of various ages and ethnicities all wearing hats).

Schools were originally closed until March 27th; I heard nothing all weekend about their reopening.  But this morning my news feed informed me that it's all shut down for the year.

I could hear the silent screams from parents who were looking for a reprieve

I could feel the approving nods from faculty and staff who were looking for a Safety First approach.

I shared the sinking feeling in my stomach with the kids who look to school as a place of joy and wonder, who miss the garden and the playground and the grown ups who care.  I'm as lonely as they are.

And now I have to make a plan.  Grandma's Garden produce is given to the scholars as the year winds down.  They fill small containers and carry their treasures home.  Some of them live through the summer, some of them don't, but all of them are honored and cared for with love.

At least, that's the plan.

The cold weather crops (broccoli, kale, lettuce) are just about at the end of their cycle.  The onions and sweet peas and radishes and carrots should all be ready to harvest in the next few weeks; we timed the planting just so.  I can't bear to leave them in the garden, unloved and uneaten and unappreciated.  And what about all the seed packets we were going to plant last week, after spring break, so that everyone could take home a plant of their own?  Some I can save for next year, but some ought to go to good homes right now.

How I will manage to do that and stay safe remains a mystery.  Until I figure it out, it's just an idea.

Suggestions are welcome.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Signs of the Apocalypse

I've been wondering why people hoarded toilet paper.  Pasta and sauce and sugar and butter would all make sense to me.  Toilet paper did not jump to the front of my mind when we last walked through Albertson's, Thursday, March 12th.  I wish that Rao's marinara sauce had.

Onions and potatoes are available; eggs are not.  Aren't the hens laying?  Somebody's got those eggs, which aren't getting any fresher, and there are probably workers who'd like to help process them.  If we only had testing with immediate results, the supply chain would be much happier.


So, back to what's on the shelves.  My $200 Safeway order resulted in two bags of groceries - a sad head of iceberg lettuce, an onion, three bananas and three tubs of ice cream.  Chicken?  Nope.  Mozzarella cheese?  Nope.  That spaghetti sauce I love?  Not at any price.

JannyLou and I discussed this yesterday afternoon, outside, on the path between our houses, on chairs at least 6' apart, with a brisk wind blowing any airborne particles away.  She told me a story of an ex-pat family she knew while they were living in Mexico.  Somehow, they managed to leave Iran on a jet that shared the tarmac with the Shah, who fled as they watched.  They were in Chile for Allende.

There was more, but the lesson was the same every time.

When the toilet paper and the cooking oil start flying out the door, the revolution is not far behind.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

April Fools

Did you ever leave an urgent message on a friend's answering machine from Mr Lyon, with the zoo's phone number?

Did you ever wake up to a saran wrapped toilet bowl under the it looks okay to me seat first thing in the morning?

Did you ever open your bedroom door and find yourself looking at another door, comprised of newspapers taped together, blocking your way?

Did the salt ever end up in the sugar bowl...... or was it the other way around?

Who, me?

It's hard to be foolish when the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but Happy April Fools Day anyway.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Special Time

(For the 10 people who read this yesterday before I pulled it at 10am Arizona time, I apologize!  This was supposed to be Tuesday's post, but it got ahead of itself and appeared, briefly on Monday.  I'm not having enough adventures to fill The Burrow with pictures, and I cannot watch the talking heads for inspiration, and I'm running out of thoughts.  So, here it is, where it's supposed to be.)

Special time with FlapJilly was supposed to have taken place in person in her home last week.  We had plans for crafts and baking and picking up Mama in her office at Notre Dame.  This flu that's going around put the kibosh on that plan, so we've had to improvise.

After a particularly tough afternoon, wherein the absence of a television in her bedroom and the unlikelihood of that situation being remedied in the near future was more than she could bear, FlapJilly retreated to her bedroom with a smoothie, her markers, and her mother.  

Having had a similar conversation with her mother several decades ago, I smiled at history repeating herself and settled myself in for some instruction.
We used any marker you want to draw a diamond and then another diamond inside that diamond but it has to be smaller because it has to fit.  From there it was a frenzy of shapes and colors because you have to color them in and then we were coloring and counting and laughing when we both colored the heart at the same time with the same color.

We're only as far apart as we let ourselves be.

Monday, March 30, 2020


We all know them - the people who don't have seasonal allergies, the people who smile smugly at those of us whose bodies are rejecting that which we are inhaling, wondering what all the fuss is about.

TBG was one of them.  Food sensitivities are his specialty, and he has his favorites.  Little Cuter poisoned him with milk seasoned with Omega-3's, brain food for her lactating self but a gut churning disaster for her father's allergy to iodine.  We figured it out, but only after we'd checked into a hotel to spare her newborn from what we thought was a stomach bug.

But breathing the air?  It never bothered him.  I'd be a sneezy and teary and scratchy throated mess while he handed me tissues and sympathized.  It went on like this in Ithaca, and Washington, D.C, and Chicago, and San Francisco and Marin.

Then, we moved to Tucson.

Our first spring did nothing to me.  The dust blown summer and my contacts had had an interesting introduction, but the different plants didn't seem to bother me as they began to blossom.  For TBG, though, it was another story.

"I can't shake this cold," became his mantra.

"You have allergies," I chanted in return.

"I DON'T have allergies," came his response.

Over and over and over again.  He was functional, but his head felt awful.  (Yup, allergies) He wanted to scratch the skin off his face.  (Yup, allergies)  He wasn't sick-sick, but...... (Yup, allergies)  We were caught in an ever repeating cycle until the Arizona Daily Star came to my rescue.

One morning, in a bold font that covered the entire paper above the fold, was one word: POLLEN.
Below that, in a font only marginally smaller, was a box containing a list of symptoms which fully, completely, totally, without exception, explained my husband's dilemma.

Now, if you ask him, he'll say I never had allergies 'til I moved to the place that used to be the place you moved to avoid allergies.

Friday, March 27, 2020

And So It Goes

I read book 5 of 23 in the series.

I did one and a half Pilates classes via Zoom from my usual studio.

I spent an hour or so Facetiming with FlapJilly, who was quite surprised that this flu that's going around is all the way where you live, too.   

It was a gloomy day inside and outside the house .... and inside myself, too.  And then the sun came out and I was smiling and the grilled cheese on multigrain was mmm mmmm good and I rolled double sixes and double fours in our Quarantine Backgammon Marathon and trounced TBG so thoroughly that he refused to play a final game.

It's the little things that take on importance during lock down.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Drawing with FlapJilly

FlapJilly and I spent a lovely hour or so on Facetime.  It was dinner time and relaxing time and everybody wanted a piece of Little Cuter and Mama only has two eyes and one brain.  Gramma, however, had all the time in the world to listen to the stories of the day, and admire dance moves, and sing Itsy Bitsy Spider when Giblet needed some screen time.

When FlapJilly suggested we draw hearts together, I gathered the supplies (paper, black marker, red marker) and moved them and the iPad mini to the coffee table.  I propped the screen against a couple of pillows, plopped myself on the floor, and took instruction.

Take the black marker and at the bottom, but in the middle, draw a heart.
Put the cover on and take the red one and fill it in.  
Then at the top, write I Love You.
Who should I write it for?
Well, you only have Grampa... so Grampa.  

She wrote For Giblet, needing help only with encouragement to sound out that pesky last letter in for.

And then my granddaughter wondered if I wanted her to show me how to draw a broken heart. 

On the back, with the black marker, draw a heart in the middle, then turn the paper over and trace it on the front.
(I am not entirely certain why this was necessary.) 
Now color it in, all the way red.
Now draw a squiggly line from the top to the bottom, in the middle, with the black.
On the left of the heart write I.
Leave a space then write You.
You don't write Love.
It's a broken heart.
There is no love.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Weirdness is Everywhere

We're watching Perry Mason, circa 1960, when TBG and I look at each other in horror.

The jurors - they're sitting so close to one another!
My niece did a 45 minute Instagram Live tutorial on making face masks at home.  She showed me how to put a pattern piece on fabric, how to pin it in place, and how to cut it.  She told me that sewing machines really don't like to go over pins.  I learned more about sewing from her this afternoon than I have learned in the past 68 years.
Did you know how to determine if a piece of fabric is cotton or polyester?

Crumple a corner up into a torch and light the very end.  If it burns orange, it's cotton. (You don't have to set fire to the entire piece of fabric; a small whoosh is enough.)

Yes.  I did watch all 45 minutes of her video.  It was a novel activity, and those have been in short supply recently.
I'm beating TBG in our Quarantine Backgammon Game.  I never beat him in on-going games.  One day, maybe.  Two in a row, rarely.  But to be ahead after all this time?  Unheard of.  In 50 years of game playing, this is an extreme outlier.
I'm tellin' ya, weirdness is everywhere.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

How Times Have Changed

Last Monday, March 16th, I managed to place an on-line grocery order.  Our cupboards were bare; I was paring down in preparation for our trip to the grandkids, planning to replenish the pantry upon our return.  But seclusion was called for and I wasn't sharing my San Francisco cooties with any more Tucsonans than those I passed in the airport.  I wasn't going to the store.  The store was coming to me.

I failed at several sites before finding success at Safeway.  I sat back and clapped my hands in joy when I received the confirmation email. 

We waited all night for the food to be delivered; after all, the email promised it on Monday between 7 and 8 pm. It never arrived.

Over the past eight days, we've been referring to it as the Phantom Grocery Order, with TBG requiring daily reassurance that the charge had not been posted. 

And then, today, at 3 o'clock, we received an email.  Our groceries would be delivered today, Monday, March 23, between 7 and 8 pm. 

We laughed.  The groceries were arriving. We were relieved that I didn't have to get up early to shop during Old People's Hours tomorrow.  The further down I scrolled, the more the email delighted me.  There was a list of substitutions/out of stock/undelivered items first, but then there was a long list, a glorious list, filled with milk and chicken and oranges and potatoes and ketchup and lots more, all of which would be dropped at my front door that very evening. 

We haven't had many good surprises lately. We shared some really big smiles for a really long time.

And then, for some reason,  I checked the original email.  It confirmed the delivery on Monday... March 23.... not that same day but a whole week later.... but still between 7 and 8 o'clock tonight.

I placed the order around lunchtime; of course I assumed I'd have it that evening.

How naive I was to assume that things were still the same, that same day was the normal, that 2-hours was expected....back then on Monday, March 16th.

And the weird is just getting started.