I was just Thinking
A tiny item in a section of a newspaper recently invited people to sit on their front porches and socialize, at a distance, with neighbors.
I smiled and started reflecting because my favorite space is a porch. It might be because my grandparents, who lived in rural Minnesota, had a semi-wraparound porch where I loved to play. The tire swing my grandpa hung from a nearby tree was always fun, too. But the swing wasn’t a good place to be alone, because you needed someone to give you an occasional push. I don’t remember exactly what I thought about on the porch, but I was very young, so I’m guessing what mischief I could get into next.
When there wasn’t a porch where my family lived, steps were always there to sit on. I enjoyed solitude with our dog Buff out on the front steps. Buff could only listened, but he was great company until birds flew by and he just had to chase them.
My Nature Coast Porch
The porch I have now is really an enclosed lanai, but it is my favorite place to be. It looks out on the back yard and a fence line is about 30 feet away. It is crowded with a variety of trees and bushes. Combine that with my own plants, shrubs, bird feeder and spinning hot air balloon, and I feel like I’m out in the country.
The morning ritual is coffee and the newspaper, which only comes twice a week now, and then at least three crossword puzzles (I have a huge book of them). Then, let the day begin.
My morning ritual hasn’t changed but how a day begins and ends during COVID-19 has changed tremendously. Medical appointments have been postponed, travel plans are on hold, non-essential home projects that require professionals must wait, and water aerobics classes have been canceled until further notice.
Though our line dance class ladies are starting “dance in the street” sessions. Yeehaw.
Socializing with Social Distancing
People are getting creative and productive. About 100 residents of the golf community where I live started evening golf cart caravans throughout our 29 villages.
Neighbors are sitting outside on driveways or lawns reading or listening to music.
One friend cleaned and reorganized her closet; another ordered and planted plumeria plants; my sister started re-reading classic novels.
My oldest son in Minnesota is helping a friend build a horse shelter and walking a lot (one day he did 16 miles in 8 hours). That same day, I did about half a mile. Hey, I’m older (and wiser).
COVID-19 and Procrastination
We’ve all heard the adage “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you should do today.” COVID-19 is a breeding ground for procrastination (forgive the hard to avoid pun).
I have a kitchen counter strewn with items that I need to sort through and either stow away, donate, or toss. Cleaning products are set out to remind me I need to clean the stovetop because I splattered hot olive oil all over it. (A former supervisor diagnosed me as an “out of sight, out of mind” person.) And iPod, iPhone, and Kindle cords spending so much unsupervised time together they get tangled up. I’ve never understood that cord tangling thing. Maybe a nanny cam could expose how they do it.
There are windows that should be washed with my new crystal glass cleaner, promising the windows will be so clean I will think they disappeared. Great, then I’ll accidentally walk into them.
Profits and Nonprofits
I finally refilled the bird feeder and shredded mailing labels that appear on unsolicited catalogs and charity organizations. I bought a black-out roller and that helps save time and wear and tear on my shredder. Honestly, I wish there was a law that prevented companies from sharing buyer/donator information. There are several non-profits that I support, but some, not all, apparently sell my info. How many stick-on name labels, tote bags, calendars, or pens do I need? I do use the notepads.
The Upside to Stay-At-Home
There are upsides to this stay-at-home order. My credit card balance is much lower. I am more grateful for PPE (personal protection equipment). The last time I filled my car with gas it was around $1.80 a gallon and the tank has stayed almost full for three weeks.
My youngest son in Minnesota said gas in the Minneapolis suburban areas is around $.89 a gallon! There have been fewer robocalls on my home and cell phones. I’m not sure if this is related to the Coronavirus, but I’ll take it.
How will I feel when the quarantine is lifted? Maybe it will be like I felt after Hurricane Irma in 2017. As luck would have it, I was in Minnesota for my grandson’s wedding. But I constantly watched the Weather Channel during that week, watching Irma swirl toward my neighborhood, literally. The minimal damage in my area included a few tree branches on the ground and power outages. Really, really dodged a bullet.
When I returned home and walked in the front door, I almost cried. Not because there was any damage; but because everything was just as I left it before my trip. I told my friends and family, that if they ever hear me complain about anything in or around my house, just say “Irma”. That should shut me up.
There are projects that were put off and I will work hard to get them finished when people are back to work and we can have workers come into our homes while still adhering to a bit of social distancing.
Repairs are needed for the garbage disposal, hurricane radio, and golf cart.
The items I’m donating to organizations will be delivered. My hair will be trimmed to a manageable length. Water aerobics and line dance classes will resume.
The promise I made to myself about getting back out on the golf course will be kept—perhaps. (I have a very small window for playing golf. It can’t be too hot or too cold.)
I will travel to Sarasota to visit a friend.
I will plan my trip to Minnesota for our family reunion in July.
I will do more on-site interviews with photographs for the Nature Coaster!
Sarasota’s friendly, I hear.
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