The Joys of Sheltering in Place

Don’t hate me, but ever since COVID-19 took over our lives, I’ve been like someone on Adderall. Not that I know what that’s like. The strongest thing I take is an anti-inflammatory. I’ve never even smoked weed. I’ve used pot cream for my back though. Does that count? But I digress…my point is I’ve been busy and productive of late.

You should see my current To-Do list. Used to be as long as my arm and now it’s the length of my nose. Now don’t get me wrong; that’s still pretty long, if you’ve ever seen my nose. Little doubt I’ll again add to that list, but oh the satisfaction of crossing off stuff I’ve been staring at for months, if not years. 

I now have newly painted door frames, stair risers and baseboards — no more chips from errant vacuuming. I can now park in my garage…I secured the backyard retaining wall vine…I removed the upstairs bathroom ceiling heating fan cover. Do you know I’ve been staring at 11 dead bees in that for months? Yes, I counted them. Makes me wonder what’s going on in my attic.

Anyway, I only mention this to demonstrate that although the virus is awful in many ways, good can also be found and not just being able to cross items off my OCD To-Do list. For instance… 

Have you noticed how blue the sky is these days? It’s like when I was a kid and you could actually see whales leaping in the ocean off the Farallon Islands, 32 miles from San Francisco. Okay, so I’m slightly exaggerating. But the fact is, air pollution has dropped 30% in Northeast US and is significantly better everywhere now, albeit temporary once the world gets back to “normal.”

Another bonus is less traffic. Before the virus, it was horrendous. One needed to factor in a half hour to an hour or more during commute traffic to reach their destination. But I’m spoiled now. Normally a drive to Vallejo takes an hour and 15 minutes if I leave anytime after 2:30 to trap cats for spay/neuter. Last week I left at 6:30 p.m., prime traffic time, and I made it there in 20 minutes. Hallelujah to that.

I’m also finding more time to cook an array of vegetarian meals. Normally I enjoy baking for staff at Marin Humane or my tennis friends, but since the shelter is closed and tennis is on hold, I’ve experienced baking withdrawals. So I made a batch of Tate’s chocolate chip cookies, thanks to my foodie friend Laura for scoring the recipe. The cookies were for two vet hospitals who help with our ferals. But because I’ve cut back on sugar (for the hundredth time), I ate just one cookie, which should count as a miracle.

It seems I’m able to take the dogs for more and longer walks. This is good for that reason. And bad for that reason. Good because they get much needed exercise. Bad because they walk like they’re on their way to the gallows. Sweet baby James, it takes them 30 minutes to go a quarter mile. They have to stop at every bush, smell every blade of grass, pee every 10 feet. But I’m on to them; the real reason they take walks is for the treat I give them afterwards. 

Another thing, which on second thought maybe isn’t so good, is I’m discovering just how gray I am. Usually I apply a temporary hair rinse once a month to ward off old lady hair. But curiosity had me wondering what lies beneath my brown-in-a-bottle. I’m sad to say it’s not my Nana’s vibrant white locks but instead mimics my Grandpa’s not-so vibrant gray.

So, yes, there are joys to sheltering in place. And I saved the best for last: sharing a quaran-tini via FaceTime with my friend Sharon. Hold the olives please.

Sharon with her gin martini

My delish lemon drop


2 thoughts on “The Joys of Sheltering in Place

  1. I can relate on so many levels, Janet. It feels good to have time to do some catch-up on projects. Sadly the project going on here now is helping our elderly cat, Gazer, who is in the throes of renal failure and recently has stopped eating. Trying to entice him with everything under the sun but without much luck. He’s skin and bones. Planning to take him to the vet tomorrow for some help.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that about Gazer, Holly. Keep me posted on how he’s doing. It’s so hard to see them age and the body breaking down. Hope the vet can help.

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