May 5, 2020

A Peek into My (Quarantine) Mind

I've been finding it hard to focus lately. Maybe it's eight weeks of being cooped up. Eight weeks of rarely leaving the house and rarely engaging with someone who doesn't have the same last name as me. Eight weeks of a new form of anxiety and stress. Maybe you're feeling the same way. In any event, I thought a peek into my mind might help you make sense of, or even feel better about, your own mind. And if not, then maybe you'll get a few laughs out of the craziness in my head.

A Peek into My (Quarantine) Mind

College
My oldest child is a high school freshman, so we're still a few years away from thinking about specifics when it comes to college. But this pandemic has me thinking that I would prefer it if my kids attend schools within driving distance, and that maybe community college is an option we should consider. Until now, we were certain that we wanted the full four-year experience for our kids, just like we had. But given the uncertainty of what college will look like after this, community college (and probably living at home) is back on the table.

I've also been thinking about how lucky we are that our kids are the ages they are - old enough to be somewhat independent in the house and not needing constant attention, yet young enough that this isn't affecting college plans. My heart goes out to the seniors who don't know how to plan for the fall, and the juniors whose critical second semester grades are being affected by all of the current changes to school and AP tests, and who were probably planning to take the ACT and/or SAT this spring before the tests were all canceled.

Shopping & Couponing
I haven't set foot in a store in over a month, so I haven't used a single paper coupon. I have them, especially a bunch from Ralphs that I would have used if I were shopping in store. You actually can use paper coupons when using their Pickup service, but I feel bad asking the employee who loads my groceries into my trunk so I don't have to go into the store to then go back in, run my coupons through, and then come back out to me, all while I wait in the comfort of my car.

I've also realized how much I actually enjoy the process of shopping. I miss going in, hunting for bargains, and making my selections. Shopping online is not the same. I particularly miss the farmers markets - the produce I've been getting from the supermarket is just not as tasty, especially the fruit. I just found out about Edible Gardens LA, which delivers from farms, so we'll see how that goes.

Why am I avoiding setting foot in stores? Mostly, I feel a huge responsibility to my family. If I lived alone, I'd probably risk going into stores (taking all of the proper precautions, of course). But the risk that I could pick up the virus, bring it home, and transmit it to my husband or children is just too much. They've all had breathing problems in the past - nothing chronic, but nothing about this virus is predictable. And since I can stay out of stores and protect not just my family but possibly countless strangers, I'm doing it.

Masks
I'm working on a "what I've learned about making masks" update, but I'm no expert so I'm not really sure what to say. I'm new to sewing (and eternally thankful for YouTube and the knowledgeable people who post their helpful videos), but I'll share a couple of pictures and tell you what my experience has been. I left the house once without a mask, so we've since put some in the car for emergencies. (I've also had a couple of mask-related nightmares - something I never thought I'd say!)

Cooking
I'm more than a little tired of cooking. Even though we have food delivered a couple of times a week, it's just weird having all of us eating this many meals at home every single day. My interest in trying new recipes is actually declining, even as our interest in eating the same foods again has fallen off a cliff. Also, dessert recipes are much more appealing than main dishes, but that doesn't exactly help me feed my family, LOL. I know a menu plan helps, and I did make one this week. And I'm sure I'll figure something out, and I am grateful that we aren't worried about having enough food.

Babies & Dogs
No, I'm not pregnant, but Crystal at Money Saving Mom just had a baby, plus she and her family are fostering a newborn, so she's been posting pictures of TWO babies lately. Something about never leaving the house has made me especially love photos and videos of babies and dogs, which I frequently share in the weekly newsletter (along with the occasional cute cat).

Baseball
I miss the Dodgers so much, but I did enjoy live Korean baseball on ESPN last night. It's unfortunate that most of the games will be at 2:30 a.m. here, but Mondays at 10 p.m. are looking better now.

Staying Connected
It's easy staying in touch with people I normally talked to a lot anyway, like my parents. But there are people I used to see in person that I never had much of a text/call relationship with, and I feel those bonds weakening. Plus my normal rhythms for staying in touch with friends has been completely disrupted, so I'm losing touch with friends who I'd speak to while driving, or who I mostly talked with in person during dinners out. I'm beginning to realize that I have to make much more of an effort to maintain these relationships during the quarantine.

Gratitude
The longer this goes on, the more I need to remind myself to be grateful. The way the days blend together during this time (I ask myself about ten times a day what day it is), it's easy for me to feel sorry for myself when my teens are mean and give me attitude, or I realize I have no idea when I'll see my parents in person. This pandemic has heightened my awareness of the economic inequality in our country and the world, and I've become even more aware of how privileged I am. Remembering this makes it easy to adopt an attitude of gratitude, and that's what I need to focus on more than anything.

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