Mulling the Essentials While Sheltering In Place

Some day—hopefully in the near future—the COVID-19 pandemic will be behind us. Medical interventions to those infected will alleviate  the pain, suffering, and deaths. A vaccine may be developed that can prevent others from becoming ill. Social distancing will no longer be necessary. We can go back to our lives, our jobs, our schools, our vacations, our celebrations.

Larry and I have been sheltering in place since March 10, leaving our house only for daily exercise and essential outings. We consider ourselves very fortunate.  We still get our pension checks and our social security. Even though we are  considered more vulnerable because of our age, we are—so far—not dealing personally with COVID-19 illness. We are not trying to balance working from our kitchen table while home schooling our children. We have few appointments and fewer deadlines. 

These past few weeks have given us a perspective as to what is important in our lives. Once we have the required essentials such as toilet paper, masks, disinfectants/hand sanitizers, and a well-stocked kitchen, what do we deem necessary to get through the COVID-19 pandemic? Here is my own Top Ten List.

  1. Real News

Larry and I have gotten a newspaper delivered to our doorstep since we bought our first house in 1976. When we moved to Florida, we immediately subscribed to the Orlando Sentinel. I can’t imagine my morning coffee without the news, and our life would be a little emptier without the comics and puzzles. In the same way, I look forward to getting the Jewish World  in my mailbox every two weeks to get the Jewish perspective. We have on-line subscriptions to the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the New Yorker. They were invaluable to me before the pandemic but even more important now. 

  1. Exercise

Now that the pickleball courts, the pools, and the gym are all shuttered, Larry and I alternate between riding our bikes and taking long walks every morning. We get some fresh air and have the opportunity to wave and say hi to  friends and neighbors.

  1. A Sarong

If we were up north, we would probably be living in sweatshirts and pants. As Florida’s temperatures rarely go below 75 degrees, I love my sarongs.They are comfortable and no-fuss and keep the laundry to a minimum.

  1. A Kindle

Through the miracle of modern technology, I have access to public library with just a few clicks of the computer. If the book isn’t available, I place a hold and get an email telling me when it is available. Best reads so far: The Giver of Stars by JoJo Moyes and She Said; Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Help Ignite a Movement by New York Times writers Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey.

  1. Amazon Prime and Netflix

We can’t go to the movies, and every live performance has been cancelled. But we finally have the time to watch all those series that were on our to-do list. Larry and I can recommend Unorthodox, Schitt$ Creek, and Bomb Girls. I also have The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Crown in my queue. 

  1. My Writing

Our calendars are pretty bare, but I still have my deadlines for the articles I write for the two Jewish newspapers.. Writing gives me a purpose. Recently, my articles about COVID-19 have helped me cope and put things in perspective. Once the article is published, I put it onto my blog and my FaceBook page. I love the sense of accomplishment I get from completing an article and love the feedback I get from those that follow me. (Hint! Hint! theregoesmyheart.me)

  1. Dinner

With all the restaurants closed and take-out options few and far between in our area, dinner is a main event. We even have a nightly happy hour with homemade hors d’oeuvres  Every Friday, we have a Shabbat meal complete with a kiddish, candle lighting, and a homemade challah. Ironically, along with toilet paper and hand sanitizer, yeast has also been in short supply. I finally bit the bullet and overpaid for a pound of yeast on Amazon so I don’t have to worry about finding it in our supermarket. I make three or four loaves a week and drop off one or two to neighbors who need some cheering up. 

  1. Our Lanai

Our lanai, which looks out on a small pond and a heavily wooded area, is our favorite place in our home. We are entertained by Florida wildlife, including a resident alligator,  an assortment of birds, and a rare bobcat sighting. It is where Larry and I spend our afternoons, reading  our books and doing  our puzzles. The lanai table is my office, where I do my writing. And it is where we eat dinner every night. 

  1. Video Chats

The hardest part of our quarantined life is not being with family and friends. Our trip to California to see our grandson and our summer plans for Colorado are on indefinite hold. At least four times a week, we FaceTime with our almost five-year-old granddaughter. We read her books, tell her stories, and watch her play. We usually end the call with her “reading” a book she has memorized to us. Holding our grandson is impossible, but my son and daughter-in-law are good about setting up the camera so we can watch him for a chunk of time. We Skype with Larry’s side of the family on Sunday morning and Zoom with my side of the family on Monday night. 

  1. 10.Our Support System

Absolutely nothing that I listed above would not be possible without those who continue to work. People still deliver our newspaper, our mail, our packages we have ordered on-line. In our community, people still mow our lawns and pick up our trash and recyclables. Those who work in essential businesses— pharmacies, supermarkets, gas stations— still  fill prescriptions, stock shelves and run cash registers. A delivery service drops our groceries on our front porch. Most importantly, our first responders and all those who work in the medical field put their own lives on the line every day to try to save the lives of family members and friends who have been infected. I am so grateful to every one of them. We can best show our appreciation by doing whatever we can to prevent further spread of this epidemic. Stay safe Stay healthy. Stay home!

10 thoughts on “Mulling the Essentials While Sheltering In Place

  1. karen Gerhardt

    Your writing has a soothing, and wholesomeness that is both reaffirming and positive in these ever so troubling times. Your ability to convey a sense of calm and gratitude amidst the chaos is a welcoming read. Be safe, be well.

    Reply
  2. Shirley Greves

    I could relate well to your lifestyle during our new “normal life” even though challenging. I enjoy many of the same things whether in Florida or now up at our lake home in the north. Weather has actually been good here, so not always in a sweatshirt. LoL Thanks for sharing your current daily life.

    Reply
  3. Marty Helfand

    Hi to you both think of our families every day. My ti e is spent much the same but I am doing ,ow vision classes on zoom 5 days a week, assistive tech 9am and daily lining 1pm with trivia type games at 12:30 and on Fridays ar 2pm ish support group, also grief support 2 x a month. In between there is walking usual house stuff that the girl that cleans twice a month and weed lady does outside monthly, so glad to be home and able to get mail and walk outside, so many are unable to do that especially those living in assisted living type facilities they are still in lock down and I try and keep in phone contact especially with my memory support group that I cofacilitate and my knitting group that met every Thursday and lunch out monthly. Neighbors and friends do grocery runs once a week or so, sometimes I go and sometimes not. Meals on wheels delivers hot lunch 6 days a week so that helps too. Much of family work from home so phone contact is on their schedules . I do synagogue on Friday nights with shul in Herkimer NY where we/I am still a member, it is on zoom and great to keep up with old friends, sorry our shul here in North Port chose not to do this, perhaps due to many not in Florida as they went back North before travel was restricted understand Sarasota shul is also on zoom on Saturday so will check that out. Transportation for eye doctor’s visits is by Charlotte County bus and FISH of Englewood. I still volunteer call for them probably 4 times a month. I also still knit for Veterans and for babies/new moms home as well. Vision is still a problem but hope to get glasses end of June so maybe I can read. Audio books have been wonderful, Lighthouse (come in matl) takes care of that as well, soon will be able to get from library but need transportation. My daughter and family try and visit weekly and we do take out or like last Sunday I cooked, salmon latkes etc(I didn’t forget how). We do social distance in the garage or on the latino, she is working from home as well. Cookies are still a challenge to bake but a friend/my care partner puts them in the oven etc, I can mix them up etc just oven is on my not to do per eye doctors, they are having cookie withdrawal too. Using my tablet has been easier as i can enlarge print and other things Lighthouse has helped or taught me to do. They are all working from home too so classes are daily instead of weekly and 2 hour bus ride. so there are ma y benefits to this pandemic. Will miss my planned trip to NY this month as well as unveiling for Eli on June 28th. Not sure what will go on at cam, know most of usual summer events have been canceled just like Florida, tourism will suffer no matter where you are. Families are keeping in touch as best as we all can, missing them too, glad we have computers but missing the hugs and baby cuddling too. Sorry to go on so long, guess my visit is making me miss you all too. Glad we were able to get together in January and glad too that Eli doesn’t have to go thru this not sure how we would have done if he was in lockdown in one area and ne in another. I have several friends in a facility and family members in another part of it and both in lock downs, you all stay well and best to families, love and germ free hugs, Marty

    I

    On Thu, Jun 4, 2020, 8:11 PM There Goes My Heart wrote:

    > shapcomp18 posted: ” Some day—hopefully in the near future—the COVID-19 > pandemic will be behind us. Medical interventions to those infected will > alleviate the pain, suffering, and deaths. A vaccine may be developed that > can prevent others from becoming ill. Social dist” >

    Reply
  4. Doris Calderon

    Hey Marilyn, this was absolutely fabulous. Marty and I share the same things and as always we are appreciative of the things we have and try not to concentrate on any of the things we don’t have. Remember I was in isolation and “stay home and stay safe” for the months after I had my bone marrow transplant so wearing those masks and gloves and not kissing and hugging and doing the elbow bump was part of our lives. When we moved to Florida and thought we retired, we be able to play pickle ball shuffleboard, run to the clubhouse, play cards etc. etc. We’re not sitting around whining about what we can’t do we’re just sitting around doing the things that you had on your list.

    Thank you for a few we forgot.

    Reply

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