Love in the Age of COVID-19

We have been sheltering in place since about March 12. Even though the park was still having events like the Olympics and Happy Hours with little emphasis on social distancing, we decided early on that we really didn’t want to catch the COVID-19 virus. The park did quit serving meals and the end of the season was fast approaching.

Since the United States still hasn’t ramped up testing there was just no way to tell, especially early on, how widespread it was. Before lots of people started getting sick and dying. Jim was able to find us each a N95 mask online before supplies ran out. A lady in the park made us cloth masks to go over them. I knew I kept this fabric for some reason…
IMG_2496I asked her to use the guitar playing part for Jim’s mask since he had received his new electric uke just in time before South Africa shut down. Thank goodness he has had it and been able to play during the quarantine.
IMG_2502I went on my first pandemic shopping trip on March 7 and it was crazy. You had to wear a mask to get in the store and I wore gloves too. An employee was sanitizing the carts before bringing them back into the store. I usually bring in a cart from the parking lot but after I saw that I have waited till I was in the store to get a cart. I stocked up to the tune of almost $300 but lots of people were hoard buying and some things were scarce like meat and of course, toilet paper and paper towels. What good is toilet paper going to do you if you don’t have food?
I also stocked way up on liquor. Jim dropped me off because he had to take the cats to the vet for their annual exam and shots. Of course he couldn’t go into the vet, he handed over the carriers and waited for them to bring them back. They were there for over an hour so I had plenty of time to shop.

The stock situation was a little bit better the next time I went on March 22.  They actually had paper towels and toilet paper but with a limit on how much you could buy. Some people weren’t paying any attention to either the limits or the six feet of separation required. This time I spent about $150 on food, including meat which was hard to find the first time. I’m keeping a Quarantine Diary.

Then they started talking about “opening” up the states by Easter. What a disaster that would be! Case numbers and deaths were still rising and testing still was lame so it was anybody’s guess how many were infected. As the numbers kept going up, Texas, including our county, ordered a shelter in place order through April 24. I went back to the grocery store on April 23 just in case they really did make that boneheaded move. Meanwhile the numbers were still going up until the United States had the most cases and deaths of any country in the world. Winning!

We took the isolation order seriously but some people didn’t and continued to hold happy hours, jam sessions and dinner parties. We really miss the socialization but we had already invested quite a bit of time staying in; we didn’t want to blow it. And new people were coming into the park, some from cruise ships and from parts unknown. There was no guidance on quarantining themselves, making a tenuous situation even worse. By this time we knew there were asymptomatic carriers, unlike the Governor of Georgia. Who knew which person that might be? A few other couples are also in total isolation and although we feel like we’re missing out we still think that is the best tactic. Hopefully we will have some friends left when this is all over. At least we can go outside and exercise. Spain was locked indoors for over a month, you couldn’t even go outside!

We know this isn’t easy for anybody but feel fortunate to have money to spend, a place to hunker down and no loss of employment. Of course our investments are tanking but our financial person says we will be alright. More winning! We are also thankful that we bought our little house when we did. The garden has been a lifesaver for me, giving me something to do. We spend every evening on our porch watching the birds and talking with friends through the screen door at a distance.
IMG_2545The cats have been going outside, even Astrid! They are good and usually stick around the catnip plant. Then they sleep for the rest of the day. Life hasn’t changed much for them.

We’ve been practicing yoga on the porch, walking and swimming laps for exercise. The weather is really starting to heat up here but it is unlikely that we will be able to travel in the bus this summer. We’re not sure about our trip to Europe in August either.

I am working on transferring all my web content to one place and that is a work in progress. Check out for a look. More coming soon.

We are really stocked up on food and the big question every day is “What should we have for dinner tonight?” We’re making lots of Mexican since we missed out on our trip there in March. It turned out to be a good thing though because right when we were supposed to be there we found out that Mexico was banning alcohol sales and the little village we were going to barricaded off the town and won’t let anybody in or out! Whew! We had our flights refunded and our deposit returned. We will go later, maybe for our 30th anniversary in October.
IMG_2516IMG_2531We have a good routine going and plan to continue. Get up, have breakfast, read the papers, let the cats out, play music, exercise, garden, then retire to the porch when it cools off. Texas has opened up as  of May 1 so we expect the case numbers and deaths will continue to rise. What are they thinking? I thought they said they could open up when cases went down for fourteen days straight but they are still going up. I know, it’s the economy stupid! But restaurants can only have 25% capacity. Social distancing has to be maintained. Hair salons and gyms not open yet. It’s nowhere near safe to open;  I fear the increase of infections will be astronomical. Over 60,000 people have died already in less than two short months. It’s more important now than ever.

Be safe, stay vigilant, be happy, be healthy.

And wash your hands! Again.