Covid Made Me Do It!

This damn virus has turned me into a shopaholic! Now to be fair, I have always enjoyed browsing through stores, but I can look and not buy a thing. In general, I live on a pension and usually watch what I spend and like most people, I love to find a bargain. Covid has been my undoing.

When the initial quarantine first started last March, I came to terms with the situation. I was retired, lived alone, and life wasn’t that bad. Grocery stores and the liquor stores were open, but you had to stand in line. Life went on. In the early spring, I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to paint my living room and dining room, since no one could visit. I was quite pleased with my efforts and decided I might as well make a few other updates. This led to my first flurry of purchases which included a new dining room fixture, two new, comfy chairs from IKEA, and a new white, cowhide rug to match the freshly painted walls. I had done a bit of online shopping in the past, but I am one of those people who likes to see things in person before making a decision. So much for that!

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My weekly trip to the grocery store and liquor store were my only outings, and then, I discovered a winery in Niagara that was advertising on Facebook. I checked it out and ordered my first case. Delivery was free in my province and I really enjoyed the wine. I am currently on case number seven.

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Spring turned to summer and restaurants were able to open their patios. It was very exciting! But alas, as we moved into fall, infections rose and shutdowns were imminent. I started doing more walking in my neighborhood and that led to the purchase of new red running shoes and some comfy hiking boots. I needed neither pair, but the red made me smile. Since then, I recently bought a pair of Croc sandals. Yes, I know it is winter, but summer will get here eventually, and I will be ready. I also purchased jeans, a winter pea coat, a woolly toque, and a pair of silver earrings just because.

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As Christmas approached, I shopped for gifts using “porch pick-up”, but then my coffee maker started acting up and I knew its days were numbered. I had admired the beautiful design of the SMEG appliances, but the price always deterred me. Well, I now own a sleek, black, Smeg coffee maker. I decided that I deserved it. The gift giving season must have really gotten to me because for no apparent reason, I bought myself a Cricut machine. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it is for doing DIY projects. I justified the purchase by telling myself it would be something to do during the winter quarantine. Learning how to use it was another matter entirely. I almost returned it out of frustration. To date, I have made several tee shirts and some pillow covers.

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Oh, during the Christmas season, I also ordered a portable dog ramp for my Saint Bernard with the wonky hips. It still has not arrived and I have asked Paypal to get me a refund.

After the holiday season, I came to the decision that the Covid 19 had caught up with me. My clothes were feeling snug. So, I ordered a set of exercise bands and a weigh scale. I have never owned scales because they simply depress the hell out of me. The exercise bands are currently hanging on the doorknob of my office. They did make it out of the box. The scale was scary at first, but I am now using it every day. It still upsets me sometimes, but I am determined to lose even a little.

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There have been a myriad of other smaller things that I have ordered online like magnetic eyelashes, make-up, candles, soaps, stickers, books and so on. I didn’t need any of these things. I am beginning to think that I may have a problem, but I prefer to think that I am doing my part for the economy. Don’t judge!

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Well, so far this week, I have bought a new curling iron and flat iron ( Hairdressers should be an essential service!) and I ordered two new pillows and a set of sheets. I can’t wait for the delivery man! Was that the doorbell???

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Coping With Covid

First Death From COVID-19 Reported | coronavirus

Ten months into this bloody pandemic and life has definitely changed. Looking back to March of 2020, I honestly think that I was in some kind of denial about the seriousness of the situation and how long it would impact my life.

In the beginning, I stayed home. My daughter shopped for me and dropped things off on the porch. I talked to friends and family on the phone and on Zoom calls. Living alone, I most definitely felt loneliness set in. I had been use to doing everything for myself and had enjoyed a busy social life. That all came to a screeching halt!

Weeks turned to months and the warmer weather finally arrived. This gave new meaning to my days. I could spend time in the garden, sit on my porch and chat with neighbors, or go for a lovely walk in the sunshine. Life looked brighter and I felt more optimistic now, but I missed my friends and family.

With the warmer weather came the announcement that restaurants would be permitted to open their patios with dozens of restrictions. My close girlfriends and I were elated and we wasted no time in reserving places to eat and drink. We, of course, took all necessary precautions to keep ourselves safe. We were especially excited when our local pub finally reopened for service. Seeing all our old friends and the wait staff renewed my optimism that we would get through this nightmare. However, even this came to an abrupt halt when our beloved Tartan Tavern announced it would be closing permanently. Another victim of the virus!

2020 had no sense of humor and its bad news spared no one. As we started into the second phase of the pandemic, I was convinced that I might never have fun again, but a simple trip to a local country market restored my optimism.

I am not a regular customer at White Feather Country Market, but I have really been trying to support small businesses. Our area had just moved into the “red zone” which meant stores had to limit the number of customers permitted inside. When I arrived at the store, I was dismayed to find a lengthy line-up waiting to get in. As I made my way to the end of the line, I noticed a man emerge from his car in the handicapped parking and shuffle his way toward the entrance. The store employee told him he would have to wait like everyone else in line. I must admit that I felt badly for him as he leaned against the hood of his car hoping for the line to end.

After crawling along for about 15 minutes, I was almost at the door. The gentleman still waited patiently. Then, out-of-the-blue, he started to walk towards me. He leaned in and said, “Could I be your partner?” I was a little taken aback, but without a thought, I said,”Of course you can.” He then asked the ladies behind me if they minded that he got in line beside his “partner”. They assured him it was fine.

Once we reached the door, he announced to the employee that we were indeed a couple and linked his arm in mine. She laughed and said she could see that and motioned us inside. As we walked through the door, I asked him why he had waited so long to ask someone else to be his partner. His reply made my day. “Well, I looked at the other ladies ahead of you, but they didn’t seem like they would be receptive to my request.”

“But we’re all wearing masks,” I responded, “so how could you tell?”

“You smile with your eyes,” he said. “I just knew you wouldn’t turn me down.”

“Well, you made my day,” I replied. He looked puzzled. “You’re the first man that I’ve picked up in a covid line.”

“Do you come here often?” he asked. I laughed out loud. He made me feel like a million bucks!

Hang in there everyone! We will get through this. Just keep finding the humor wherever you can.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Mask Up!

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When I heard the President of the United States complain that wearing a mask made him feel like the Lone Ranger, I knew there were problems brewing. (Can one of his aides explain how the mask works, please?)

At the start of this pandemic, everyone was was cautioned not to use medical masks because there was a shortage, and they needed to be available for front line workers. That situation created an immediate market for home sewers and since then fledgling businesses have sprung up in the most unlikely places. A large, vacant factory in my town sprung to life after being retooled to produce masks. Thousands began rolling off the lines. Companies who formerly made sports jerseys converted to these face coverings and you can now promote your favorite team by wearing their colours. I myself, got into the action. I was a sewer, I had lots of spare fabric, and plenty of time on my hands. I made them available for free to anyone who asked, but after making about 300, I was over my enthusiasm.

People started out wearing them cautiously not really certain they would protect them from the virus, but as more has been learned about covid-19, we now recognize that masks do indeed help keep infections down. As communities try to reopen their businesses, masks are increasingly being mandated. Some people have come up with creative solutions to the mask requirements.

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Masks definitely come with their own set of responsibilities. Don’t leave home without one; wash or change them after each wearing (yes, this is extra laundry; you’ll manage), and for goodness sakes wear it properly. It should cover your nose and mouth, not one or the other, not hanging from one ear, or slung under your chin.

If you are someone who enjoys a snack as you go about your business, then a mask may just be the ticket.

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For many of us, it is summertime and we enjoy spending time (which many of us have plenty of at the moment) out in the sunshine. Please remember your sunscreen.

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I know this virus is scary, but please don’t do this. This is more frightening than covid.

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Listen, we all have to do our part to contain this pandemic and get back to our lives. If everyone would just comply with the science, we will soon be able to enjoy going out socially again. mask#6

In the meantime, I need to get groceries. mask#8

Be safe. Wear your mask! Everyone needs to do their part.

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Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Quarantined!!!

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When the virus first arrived, I must admit that I was concerned. I am a senior and have been diagnosed with COPD, so there are a couple of strikes against me to be sure. As the pandemic gradually took hold, and we were asked to quarantine inside our homes, I wondered how I would manage this new reality.

Living alone had prepared me well for the “no contact” rule, but how would I get groceries and pet food and the one prescription that I take? Not to worry! My daughter insisted on getting these things for me, but she lives about a 45 minute drive away, so deliveries had to be co-ordinated. She would arrive with my shopping, leave it on the porch and stand well back for a brief visit. Our system worked fine, but it left me feeling sad (because I couldn’t touch her) and more isolated than I had ever imagined. I had never realized how much my social contacts meant to me; even those brief conversations with grocery store clerks, strangers on the street that say “hello”, weekly dinners with friends, the barmaids at my local pub, and acquaintances from classes that I take, I missed them all.

My friends and family are only a phone call away and in the beginning the calls were frequent, but when no one is going anywhere or doing anything, there becomes less and less to talk about. On a recent Saturday night, a friend decided to set-up a group video call for all of the regulars of karaoke. It was wonderful to see everyone and enjoy a virtual drink together.

The truth is I missed those people even more when the call ended.  It made me sad to think that this damn virus was stealing precious time from me. The reality is that the longest part of my life is behind me not ahead of me. There are so many things I still want to do and time does not stand still, even for Covid-19.

I am also blaming this bloody infection for turning me into an eating machine. I must finally admit that  unhealthy eating is my coping mechanism for depression. The strangest things have become my cravings. Items such as licorice all-sorts, cinnamon buns, and marshmallows to name but a few. quarantine pic #1

My cravings led me to take the chance on a trip to the grocery store. I did not want to add junk food and wine to my shopping list because my daughter thinks I am a responsible person, and I did not want to dispel that myth.

The grocery store venture gave me the courage to join the line at a local liquor store. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Even the lengthy, socially-distanced line could not deter me. It was my chance to interact socially with strangers, and it filled that void albeit temporarily.

Well, weeks turned into months. I missed my life, my hair was a mess, my feet looked like they belonged to an unidentifiable creature, and I followed our infection numbers like the stock market. We were indeed “flattening the curve”, but what next?

Several weeks ago, we moved into Phase 1 of opening our area. It didn’t really mean much to me because the places included in this phase were of little interest, but then we reached Phase 2. I was ecstatic! That first week, I went to the dentist, the hairdresser, had drinks on a patio, had a pedicure, and dinner with friends, all maintaining proper protocol and safety rules. It was better than winning the lottery.

This virus has reiterated what I already knew. It is the little things in life that bring me joy, and most importantly, it is the people in my life that matter most. We are not out of the woods yet, so keep following the rules. There will be life beyond Covid-19.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo