Life in the New Normal

I’ve taken to texting the boys on an almost daily basis now. The last time, I was rewarded with these photos from Dave. He and Maren had escaped the confines of Boston and had driven down to the cape, where they found plenty of space in which to distance themselves with. Unlike Fort Lauderdale, it looks like they had the beach pretty much to themselves.

5 Boroughs Pandemic Map

Dan meanwhile is living in the hot zone. He sent me this map that was current as of yesterday morning. He lives in the red ring that covers most of Brooklyn. He lives across the street from an Orthodox Jewish community center. Looking out his front window, he could see a crowd had gathered there. First the Shul police tried to break up the gathering and then NYPD rolled up. Dan and Brit have been holed up together, subsisting on takeout and delivery. He has kind of lucked out this department. First a pizza order got screwed up and they got four free pizzas for the price of one. Likewise, a breakfast order was delivered twice. Can you say second breakfast?

Meanwhile, back on the farm, Anne and I went out for our daily constitutional. Then Anne attended another virtual gyrotonics class. I went for a bike ride. For a change, there was not a cloud in the sky, although it was pretty windy, so this marvelous weather won’t last very long. The park was pretty crowded, but not too. With the zoo and all of the museums shuttered, there were fewer people in the park than such a fine day would normally garner. Only the restrooms and the golf courses are still open. There were lots of flowers out, including the redbud, which is in full bloom. Two of those large flashing highway signs, the kind that normally tell you which lane ahead is closed, had been installed. Their message was, “Six Feet Apart Folks.” They could have turned them off though, for all of the effect that they appeared to be having. I didn’t use the bike path, but kept to the roads, which allowed me my space. 

The Male Must Go Thru

Tired, but Pleased – Anne after the Reef Bay Hike

How is everyone doing? Are you bearing up? Have you gone stir crazy yet? I’m doing fine, but then I have Anne to bolster my spirits. If there was only one person who you could be stranded with on a desert island, it would be her. She is a rock, plus she really rocks! This photo of her was taken on the boat ride back to Cruz Bay, after our four hour ranger led hike. We were both a little tired and sunburned, but we were also both very pleased with ourselves.

She has been keeping herself very busy during this duration. Today, we mailed out some more of her DIY face masks. This allotment was being sent to the nurses who cared for her mother in her final days. In order to minimize our exposure at the post office, we went online and printed out the package’s postage label. That way at the post office, all we had to do was drop it off and then dash. First thing though we had to weigh the package. She has this super accurate digital scale that she uses to weigh her yarn with. Unfortunately, its batteries were dead, but fortunately, I found two CR2032 disk batteries in the basement. Normally, I stock them, because our bikes’ computers uses them. Unfortunately, Anne couldn’t get the old batteries out of the scale. Fortunately, I hit upon the idea of using a knife. Unfortunately, I kind of elbowed Anne out of the way to get them out. Can you see where this is going?

Once weighed, Anne had to create a USPS account and then jump through its hoops to get the shipping label printed. I think that this took two tries. I was on the couch by then, but I could hear the stream of four-letter words emanating from the computer room and every time that I offered to help, their intensity only redoubled. Anyway, she got the job done, without my help or maybe even in spite of it. By then though high noon was drawing nigh and we had to beat feet in order to get to the post office in time before it closed.

Stopping to talk with the neighbors, probably didn’t help, but we made it to the post office in plenty of time. At the post office was a new sign that asked that only one patron at a time enter the lobby. So, we waited outside. When it was our turn, Anne dashed inside, dropped her package off on the counter and then dashed right back out again. I waited outside and applied hand sanitizer on her. It started to rain on the way back and our walk was cut short, but at least we got the face masks mailed and I helped!

InstaCart

Little Bites

We received our first delivery order from the delivery service InstaCart and while it wasn’t a complete success, it got the job done. About a third of the items that I ordered, couldn’t be filled exactly as ordered, but were filled with a close substitute product. As the delivery guy was filling our order and encountering the need to substitute products, I received a steady stream of texts informing me of this process. I subsequently updated Anne of this situation She was upstairs in her sew-a-torium and I was yelling up to her from the base of the stairs. The following conversation ensued:

Anne: Does that mean that they are substituting squid for toilet paper?
Me: No, they would only substitute like Atlantic squid for Pacific squid.
Anne: Why did you order squid?
Me: I didn’t. You’re the one who brought up squid.

In addition to the item substitution, there was also the matter of getting 4 bags of peeled carrots, which is excessive, but this was on me. I had fat fingered the drop down box and ordered them all. Finally, there are the pictured Little Bites. I never ordered anything like them or even remotely close to them. Maybe the delivery guy got them for himself and they just got mixed into our order? Or maybe another InstaCart person had pranked ours by sneaking it into his cart?

Shopping aside, even if it is only internet shopping, the high point of our day are our walks together. Spring is in full flower and the birds are doing what they do at this time of year. So long as it’s not raining, we get out, along with a lot of other people too. On a nice day, maintaining a social distance can require some gymnastics, but with sidewalks on both sides of the street and even the street in-between, there is enough room. These casual encounters allow a modicum of social interaction, in these isolationist times. Yesterday, we augmented the social aspect of our walks, when we swung by Joanie’s place and nudged her out of the house, for a while. Later, our next-door neighbor called upon us. He was being nice and checking on the old people. We enjoyed our socially safe conversation together. It helps to get out of the house and talk to other people.