Today was a good day, despite social distancing.

A friend came to my temporary polling place (a table I set up in my front yard) to witness me filling out my absentee ballot. I also did yard work and went for a bike ride.

It was on the bike ride that I really thought about social distancing. On such a beautiful day, I didn’t see that many people out and about, but those I did see mostly waved or nodded in greeting. And that felt good, too.

It also reminded me of high school and my big brother Jim.

Of five brothers, Jim is the only one who is an older brother. Because of that, most likely, I idolized him. He might not have realized that because during his high school wrestling career he mostly concentrated on making weight and then eating like a pig after weigh in. If cookie dough or minute-boil frosting was missing from the fridge, it was a sure sign that Jim had been there.

To atone and shed the pounds to get back to 119, Jim would close all the registers in the house except for the bathroom register. Then he would run hot water in the shower and do jumping jacks. As this was the only bathroom for 12 people, we all knew when Jim was cutting weight.

Still, I thought he was the toughest, coolest brother a girl ever had. So when I made it to high school and ran into him in the hallway for the first time, I was giddy. “Hi, Jim,” I said bubbling with joy.

Jim snarled and called me an idiot or a moron and stalked off with his friends. I quit saying hi but I never gave up on the idolatry.

That paid off when Jim was a senior. I don’t know what changed for him, but he started nodding at me when we passed in the halls. “Did you see that?” I asked one of my friends. “He nodded at me.”

So those folks who nodded at me this afternoon are like social distance substitutes for Jim and the rest of my family and friends. It made all things seem possible, as if we might come through this pandemic better off than when we started out.

And as long as Jim doesn’t decide he has to cut back to 119 pounds, I’m sure we’ll all have a good time when next we gather for a family potluck.


The virus that shall remain nameless

I am so sick of the virus currently causing pandemic and pandemonium that I have decided I will stop referring to it by name. And I hate seeing that little pop art figure that is used to signify a story on the virus is about to occur.

About to occur? That is the entire news nowadays. Pandemic this, pandemic that, and how people are bad at sheltering in place and the president is a nincompoop and bring on Dr. Fauci who we all respect and believe. And why isn’t New York Governor Cuomo the president? He seems to know what he’s doing and he seems to love us all.

But enough of that virus that shall remain nameless. Instead, I’m going to talk about what’s been going on at my house since I began social distancing.

To begin with, social distancing wasn’t difficult for me because I’m somewhat of a social distancer by nature. I actually like being alone with myself. I read, watch TV, putter, check out Facebook and read some more.

That was the first week.

But we’re getting serious now. I have to put some thought into  what I want to buy at the grocery store because I don’t want to be in there that long.  And if I’m standing on the sidewalk raking leaves off the garden, I scurry back to the driveway when I see a dog walker on the horizon. And, yes, I’m going through soap like it’s water. Way to keep those hands clean.

So yesterday, I finally re-potted my geraniums. I scrubbed the grease off the stove top and tried to clean the stove grates. (Anyone have a good solution for the black burned-on grease I can’t get off those grates?) I plunged the kitchen sink and then wiped down all surfaces and did the dishes. I even made some keto cornbread that tastes nowhere near as delicious as the cornbread I buy from Festival’s deli. I guess that’s because it’s keto.

Today, I braved shopping at Festival. That darned cornbread that didn’t taste that good took four eggs so I really needed to supplement. But all the eggs except for organic were sold out and the organics cost over $4 a dozen.

No thanks.

So I drove by Kwik Trip on the way home to get eggs for $1.99 a dozen and noticed that gas is selling for $1.42. Are you kidding me? Now that I’m not going anywhere, gas is a dollar cheaper than it was a month ago.

I polished off my energy supply by going for a bike ride at 2 p.m. Yes, it had started to drizzle so I only lasted out there for 10 minutes because that is uncomfortable and, as a retiree, I crave comfort.

So I’m wimping out for the rest of the day and going to the book stack on the dining room table.

So much to do, so much time in which to do it, so much social isolation. Wave if you see me in the yard, but don’t come anywhere near me. Because, you know, there’s this virus thing.